African eggplant (Solanum macrocarpon L) (AE) and Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum L) (BN) leaves are green leafy vegetables with nutritional and ethnobotanical values. We have previously characterized the vegetables via HPLC/LC-MS to reveal notable phenolic acids, flavonoids and alkaloids. In this present study, we addressed the efficacy of the two vegetables in mitigating mercuric chloride (HgCl2)-induced neurotoxicity and memory impairment in Drosophila melanogaster. Flies were exposed to HgCl2 (0.30 mg/g) alone or in combination with the vegetables (0.1 and 1.0%) of both samples in their diets for seven days. The results showed that HgCl2 (Hg)-exposed flies had significantly reduced survival rate and memory index, which were ameliorated in the Hg-exposed flies fed AE or BN. This was accompanied by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, reduced total thiol, as well as catalase, glutathione transferase (GST) and acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activities in Hg-exposed fly heads, but ameliorated in Hg-exposed flies fed dietary inclusions of the vegetables. In addition, the Hg-induced alterations in SOD, NF-ҝB/Relish, Dronc and Reaper mRNA levels were statistically indistinguishable from controls in Hg-treated flies fed diets containing AE or BN. Normalization of cnc/Nrf2 and FOXO were observed only in Hg-treated flies fed BN. These findings suggest that dietary AE or BN leaves offer protection against Hg-induced memory impairment and neurotoxicity in D. melanogaster, and further justify them as functional foods with neuroprotective properties.
- Functional foods
- Solanum spp
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience