A water extract of Mucuna pruriens provides long-term amelioration of parkinsonism with reduced risk for dyskinesias

Christopher A. Lieu, Allen R. Kunselman, Bala V. Manyam, Kala Venkiteswaran, Thyagarajan Subramanian

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75 Scopus citations


Dopaminergic anti-parkinsonian medications, such as levodopa (LD) cause drug-induced dyskinesias (DID) in majority of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Mucuna pruriens, a legume extensively used in Ayurveda to treat PD, is reputed to provide anti-parkinsonian benefits without inducing DID. We compared the behavioral effects of chronic parenteral administration of a water extract of M. pruriens seed powder (MPE) alone without any additives, MPE combined with the peripheral dopa-decarboxylase inhibitor (DDCI) benserazide (MPE. +. BZ), LD. +. BZ and LD alone without BZ in the hemiparkinsonian rat model of PD. A battery of behavioral tests assessed by blinded investigators served as outcome measures in these randomized trials. In experiment 1, animals that received LD. +. BZ or MPE. +. BZ at high (6. mg/kg) and medium (4. mg/kg) equivalent doses demonstrated significant alleviation of parkinsonism, but, developed severe dose-dependent DID. LD. +. BZ at low doses (2. mg/kg) did not provide significant alleviation of parkinsonism. In contrast, MPE. +. BZ at an equivalent low dose significantly ameliorated parkinsonism. In experiment 2, MPE without any additives (12. mg/kg and 20. mg/kg LD equivalent dose) alleviated parkinsonism with significantly less DID compared to LD. +. BZ or MPE. +. BZ. In experiment 3, MPE without additives administered chronically provided long-term anti-parkinsonian benefits without causing DID. In experiment 4, MPE alone provided significantly more behavioral benefit when compared to the equivalent dose of synthetic LD alone without BZ. In experiment 5, MPE alone reduced the severity of DID in animals initially primed with LD. +. BZ. These findings suggest that M. pruriens contains water-soluble ingredients that either have an intrinsic DDCI-like activity or mitigate the need for an add-on DDCI to ameliorate parkinsonism. These unique long-term anti-parkinsonian effects of a parenterally administered water extract of M. pruriens seed powder may provide a platform for future drug discoveries and novel treatment strategies in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-465
Number of pages8
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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