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Common flowering quince (FQ) is the fruit of Chaenomeles speciosa (Sweet) Nakai. FQ-containing cocktails have been applied to the treatment of neuralgia, migraine, and depression in traditional Chinese medicine. The present study assessed whether FQ is effective in dopamine transporter (DAT) regulation and antiparkinsonism by utilizing in vitro and in vivo assays, respectively. FQ at concentrations of 1-1000 microg/ml concentration-dependently inhibited dopamine uptake by Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells stably expressing DAT (D8 cells) and by synaptosomes. FQ had a slight inhibitory action on norepinephrine uptake by CHO cells expressing the norepinephrine transporter and no inhibitory effect on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) uptake by CHO cells expressing GABA transporter-1 or serotonin uptake by the serotonin transporter. A viability assay showed that FQ mitigated 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-induced toxicity in D8 cells. Furthermore, in behavioral studies, FQ alleviated rotational behavior in 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rats and improved deficits in endurance performance in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated mice. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry revealed that FQ markedly reduced the loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons in the substantia nigra in MPTP-treated mice. In summary, FQ is a selective, potent DAT inhibitor and has antiparkinsonian-like effects that are mediated possibly by DAT suppression. FQ has the potential to be further developed for Parkinson's disease treatment.
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