Antioxidant Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: Insights from Drosophila melanogaster
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role as endogenous mediators in several cellular signalling pathways. However, at high concentrations they can also exert deleterious effects by reacting with many macromolecules including DNA, proteins and lipids. The precise balance between ROS production and their removal via numerous enzymatic and nonenzymatic molecules is of fundamental importance for cell survival. Accordingly, many neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD), are associated with excessive levels of ROS, which induce oxidative damage. With the aim of coping with the progression of PD, antioxidant compounds are currently receiving increasing attention as potential co-adjuvant molecules in the treatment of these diseases, and many studies have been performed to evaluate the purported protective effects of several antioxidant molecules. In the present review, we present and discuss the relevance of the use of Drosophila melanogaster as an animal model with which to evaluate the therapeutic potential of natural and synthetic antioxidants. The conservation of most of the PD-related genes between humans and D. melanogaster, along with the animal’s rapid life cycle and the versatility of genetic tools, makes fruit flies an ideal experimental system for rapid screening of antioxidant-based treatments.