Background: Agmatine, an endogenous amine, is cosidered a novel neuromodulator with neuroprotective properties. However, the mechanisms involved in these protective effects are poorly understood.
Methods: Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analysis detects biomolecular changes in disordered cells and tissues. In the present study, we employ FTIR spectroscopy to characterize the changes in rotenone-induced damage in neuronal-like differentiated SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells in the presence or absence of agmatine.
Results: The analysis of the FTIR spectra evidences significant alterations in rotenone-treated cells that are reduced by the pre-incubation with agmatine (250 nM). In particular, rotenone-damaged cells demonstrate spectral alterations related to amide I, which correspond to an increase in β-sheet components, and decreases in the amide II absorption intensity, suggesting a loss of N–H bending and C–N stretching. These alterations were also evident by Fourier self-deconvolution analysis. Thus, rotenone induced increases in the levels of stretching vibration band related to the protein carboxyl group would account for a significant amount of misfolded proteins in the cell. Agmatine effectively reduces these effects of rotenone on protein structure.
Conclusion: In conclusion, antioxidant and scavenging properties of agmatine reduce rotenone-produced cellular damage at the level of protein structure. Our results, together with other previous observations, make agmatine a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.