[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been widely used in China for thousands of years to treat and prevent diseases. TCM has been proven safe and effective, and it is being considered as one of the important types of complementary and alternative medicine and receives increasing attention worldwide. The dried root of Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. et Zucc. (also known as "Hu Zhang" in Chinese) is one of the medicinal herbs listed in the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China. Hu Zhang is widely distributed in the world. It can be found in Asia and North America and is used as folk medicine in countries such as Japan and Korea. In China, Hu Zhang is usually used in combination with other TCM herbs. The therapeutic uses of those Hu Zhang-containing TCM prescriptions or formulations are for treating cough, hepatitis, jaundice, amenorrhea, leucorrhea, arthralgia, burns and snake bites. Recent pharmacological and clinical studies have indicated that Hu Zhang has antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and cardioprotective functions. This review gives a summary of the reported therapeutic effects of the active compounds and the different extracts of Hu Zhang.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2013; 2013:208349. · 1.72 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SU5416 was originally designed as a potent and selective inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) for cancer therapy. In this study, we have found for the first time that SU5416 unexpectedly prevented 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP(+))-induced neuronal apoptosis in cerebellar granule neurons, and decreased 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced loss of dopaminergic neurons and impairment of swimming behavior in zebrafish in a concentration-dependent manner. However, VEGFR-2 kinase inhibitor II, another specific VEGFR-2 inhibitor, failed to reverse neurotoxicity at the concentration exhibiting anti-angiogenic activity, strongly suggesting that the neuroprotective effect of SU5416 is independent from its anti-angiogenic action. SU5416 potently reversed MPP(+)-increased intracellular nitric oxide level with an efficacy similar to 7-nitroindazole, a specific neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) inhibitor. Western blotting analysis showed that SU5416 reduced the elevation of nNOS protein expression induced by MPP(+). Furthermore, SU5416 directly inhibited the enzyme activity of rat cerebellum nNOS with an IC(50) value of 22.7 µM. In addition, knock-down of nNOS expression using short hairpin RNA (shRNA) abolished the neuroprotective effects of SU5416 against MPP(+)-induced neuronal loss. Our results strongly demonstrate that SU5416 might exert its unexpected neuroprotective effects by concurrently reducing nNOS protein expression and directly inhibiting nNOS enzyme activity. In view of the capability of SU5416 to cross the blood-brain barrier and the safety for human use, our findings further indicate that SU5416 might be a novel drug candidate for neurodegenerative disorders, particularly those associated with NO-mediated neurotoxicity.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e46253. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors by excessive release of glutamate is involved in the pathogenesis of ischemic stroke. Thus the NMDA receptor has become an attractive therapeutic target for the development of neuroprotectants, especially from antagonists with moderate to low affinity. In the current study, NMDA receptor blockage and neuroprotective effects of bis(12)-hupyridone (B12H), a novel dimeric acetylcholinesterase inhibitor derived from a naturally occurring monomeric analog huperzine A, were investigated in vitro and in vivo. In primary rat cerebellar granule neurons, B12H (0.1 nM to 1 μM) prevented glutamate-induced apoptosis in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Receptor-ligand binding analysis showed that B12H competed with [(3)H]MK801 with a K(i) value of 7.7 μM. In the 2-hour middle cerebral artery occlusion rat model, B12H (0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg, 30 min before-ischemia and 15 min post-ischemia, i.p.) significantly attenuated ischemia-induced apoptosis in the penumbra region, improved neurological behavior impairment, and decreased cerebral infarct volume, cerebral edema and neuronal apoptosis in the stroke model. Together, these results showed that B12H moderately blocks NMDA receptors at MK801 site and exerts neuroprotection against excitotoxic and ischemic insults in vitro and in vivo. Combined with our previous publications, we conjecture that B12H might exert neuroprotection via acting on multiple targets.
Brain research 11/2011; 1421:100-9. · 2.46 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress is closely related to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD). In this study, we investigated the neuroprotective effect of tacrine-ferulic acid dimers linked by an alkylenediamine side chain (TnFA, n=2-7), a series of novel acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, against 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells. Among these dimers, pre-treatment of tacrine(2)-ferulic acid (T2FA, 3-30 μM) attenuated 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner. The activations of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) were observed after the treatment of 6-OHDA. Both SB415286 (an inhibitor of GSK3β) and PD98059 (an inhibitor of ERK kinase) reduced the neurotoxicity induced by 6-OHDA, indicating that GSK3β and ERK are involved in 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis. T2FA was able to inhibit the activation of GSK3β, but not ERK, in an Akt-dependent manner. Furthermore, LY294002, a phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor, abolished the neuroprotective effect of T2FA. Collectively, these results suggest that T2FA prevents 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis possibly by activating the Akt pathway in PC12 cells.
Neurochemistry International 09/2011; 59(7):981-8. · 2.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cause of many neurodegenerative disorders can be ascribed to the loss of functional neurons, and thus agents capable of promoting neuronal differentiation may have therapeutic benefits to patients of these disorders. In this study, the effects and underlying mechanisms of bis(12)-hupyridone (B12H), a novel dimeric acetylcholinesterase inhibitor modified from huperzine A (HA), on neuronal differentiation were investigated using both the rat PC12 pheochromocytoma cell line and adult rat hippocampus neural stem cells. B12H (3-30 μM), characterized by morphological changes and expression of GAP-43, induced neurite outgrowth in a concentration- and time-dependent manner, with almost 3-fold higher efficacy than that of HA in PC12 cells. Furthermore, B12H (2.5-10 μM), but not HA, promoted neuronal differentiation as shown by the percentage increase of βIII-tubulin positive neurons in neural stem cells. The activities of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), as well as its downstream transcription factors Elk-1 and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) were elevated in the B12H-treated PC12 cells. Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitors and alpha7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) antagonist blocked the neurite outgrowth and the activation of ERK induced by B12H. All these findings suggest that B12H potently induces pro-neuronal cells into differentiated neurons by activating the ERK pathway possibly via regulating α7nAChR. These findings support the recent proposition that α7nAChR is required for the neuronal dendritic arborization and differentiation in the adult mice hippocampus, and provide insights into the possible therapeutic potential of B12H in treating neurodegenerative disorders.
Brain research 07/2011; 1401:10-7. · 2.46 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a specific pro-angiogenic peptide, has shown neuroprotective effects in the Parkinson's disease (PD) models, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, the neuroprotective properties of VEGF on 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP(+))-induced neurotoxicity in primary cerebellar granule neurons were investigated. Pretreatment of VEGF prevented MPP(+)-induced neuronal apoptosis in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. And this prevention was blocked by PTK787/ZK222584, a VEGF receptor-2 specific inhibitor. Both inhibition of the Akt pathway and activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway contribute to MPP(+)-induced neuronal apoptosis. VEGF reversed the inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt pathway caused by MPP(+), but further enhanced the activation of ERK induced by MPP(+). Interestingly, VEGF and PD98059 (an ERK kinase inhibitor) play a synergistic role in protecting neurons from MPP(+)-induced toxicity. Collectively, these findings suggest that the PI3-K/Akt and ERK pathways activated by VEGF play opposite roles in MPP(+)-induced neuronal apoptosis. This finding offers not only a new and clinically significant modality as to how VEGF exerts its neuroprotective effects but also a novel therapeutic strategy for PD by differentially regulating PD-associated signaling pathways.
Neurochemistry International 07/2011; 59(6):945-53. · 2.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxidative stress-induced apoptosis plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, the neuroprotective properties of bis(12)-hupyridone (B12H), a novel dimeric acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor modified from a naturally occurring monomeric analogue, huperzine A, on H₂O₂-induced neurotoxicity were investigated in cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs). Exposure of CGNs to H₂O₂ resulted in apoptosis which could be attenuated by the pre-treatment of B12H (0.3-5 nM) in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, tacrine and neostigmine failed to prevent neurotoxicity, indicating that the neuroprotection of B12H might not be due to its inhibitory property of AChE enzymatic activity. Increased activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and decreased activation of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3β were observed after H₂O₂ exposure, and B12H reversed the altered activation of GSK3β, but not that of ERK. Furthermore, using vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), phospho-VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) antibody, a specific VEGFR-2 inhibitor (PTK787/ZK222584) and specific phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitors (LY294002 and wortmannin), it was found that VEGF prevented H₂O₂-induced neuronal loss from activating the VEGF/VEGFR-2 system and that the observed B12H neuroprotective effects might share the same signaling pathway. These findings strongly suggest that B12H prevents H₂O₂-induced neuronal apoptosis independent of inhibiting AChE, but through regulating VEGFR-2/Akt/GSK3β signaling pathway.
Brain research 02/2011; 1394:14-23. · 2.46 Impact Factor