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Gulf war toxicant-induced effects on the hippocampal dendritic arbor are reversed by treatment with a Withania somnifera extract

Shaikh, AL and Murray, KE and Ravindranath, V and Citron, BA (2024) Gulf war toxicant-induced effects on the hippocampal dendritic arbor are reversed by treatment with a Withania somnifera extract. In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, 18 .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2024.1368667


Gulf War Illness (GWI) is a multi-symptom disorder that manifests with fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood-cognition pathologies, and musculoskeletal symptoms. GWI affects at least 25 of the military personnel that served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. We modeled Gulf War toxicant exposure in C57BL/6J mice by combined exposure to pyridostigmine bromide (an anti-sarin drug), chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate insecticide), and DEET (an insect repellent) for 10 days followed by oral treatment with Withania somnifera root extract for 21 days beginning at 12 weeks post-exposure. W. somnifera, commonly referred to as ashwagandha, has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to improve memory and reduce inflammation, and its roots contain bioactive molecules which share functional groups with modern pain, cancer, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Previously, we observed that GWI mice displayed chronic reductions in dendritic arbor and loss of spines in granule cells of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus at 14 weeks post-exposure. Here, we examined the effects of treatment with W. somnifera root extract on chronic dendrite and spine morphology in dentate granule cells of the mouse hippocampus following Gulf War toxicant exposure. GWI mice showed approximately 25 decreases in dendritic length (p < 0.0001) and overall dendritic spine density with significant reductions in thin and mushroom spines. GWI mice treated with the Ayurvedic W. somnifera extract exhibited dendritic lengths and spine densities near normal levels. These findings demonstrate the efficacy of the Ayurvedic treatment for neuroprotection following these toxic exposures. We hope that the extract and the neuronal processes influenced will open new avenues of research regarding treatment of Gulf War Illness and neurodegenerative disorders. Copyright © 2024 Shaikh, Murray, Ravindranath and Citron.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Frontiers Media SA.
Department/Centre: Autonomous Societies / Centres > Centre for Brain Research
Date Deposited: 14 May 2024 11:39
Last Modified: 14 May 2024 11:39
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/84452

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