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In the current study, we investigate whether oral administration of agmatine (AGM) could effectively reduce motor and cognitive deficits induced by bile duct ligation (BDL) in an animal model of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) through neuroprotective mechanisms. The Wistar rats were divided into four groups: sham, BDL, BDL+ 40 mg/kg AGM, and BDL+ 80 mg/kg AGM. The BDL rats were treated with AGM from 2 weeks after the surgery for 4 consecutive weeks. The open field, rotarod, and wire grip tests were used to assess motor function and muscle strength. The novel object recognition test (NOR) was performed to evaluate learning and memory. Finally, blood samples were collected for the analysis of the liver markers, the animals were sacrificed, and brain tissues were removed; the CA1 regions of the hippocampus and cerebellum were processed to identify apoptosis and neuronal damage rate using caspase-3 immunocytochemistry and Nissl staining. The serological assay results showed that BDL severely impaired the function of the liver. Based on histochemical findings, BDL increased the neuronal damage in CA1 and Purkinje cells, whereas apoptosis was significantly observed only in the cerebellum. AGM treatment prevented the increase of serum liver enzymes, balance deficits, and neuronal damage in the brain areas. Apoptosis partially decreased by AGM, and there were no differences in the performance of animals in different groups in the NOR. The study suggests AGM as a potential treatment candidate for HE because of its neuroprotective properties and/or its direct effects on liver function. © 2023 The Authors. Brain and Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Sepideh Ganjalikhan-Hakemi, Majid Asadi-Shekaari, Fahimeh Pourjafari, Gholamreza Asadikaram, Masoumeh Nozari. Agmatine improves liver function, balance performance, and neuronal damage in a hepatic encephalopathy induced by bile duct ligation. Brain and behavior. 2023 Sep;13(9):e3124

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PMID: 37337713

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