Polysaccharides from Wolfberry Prevents Corticosterone-Induced Inhibition of Sexual Behavior and Increases Neurogenesis

Department of Anatomy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 04/2012; 7(4):e33374. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033374
Source: PubMed


Lycium barbarum, commonly known as wolfberry, has been used as a traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction. However, there is still a scarcity of experimental evidence to support the pro-sexual effect of wolfberry. The aim of this study is to determine the effect of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP) on male sexual behavior of rats. Here we report that oral feeding of LBP for 21 days significantly improved the male copulatory performance including increase of copulatory efficiency, increase of ejaculation frequency and shortening of ejaculation latency. Furthermore, sexual inhibition caused by chronic corticosterone was prevented by LBP. Simultaneously, corticosterone suppressed neurogenesis in subventricular zone and hippocampus in adult rats, which could be reversed by LBP. The neurogenic effect of LBP was also shown in vitro. Significant correlation was found between neurogenesis and sexual performance, suggesting that the newborn neurons are associated with reproductive successfulness. Blocking neurogenesis in male rats abolished the pro-sexual effect of LBP. Taken together, these results demonstrate the pro-sexual effect of LBP on normal and sexually-inhibited rats, and LBP may modulate sexual behavior by regulating neurogenesis.

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    • "LBPs are reported to have anti-aging properties in different models [6], [7] and can suppress oxidative stress [7]–[12]. Several studies focusing on the reproductive system showed that LBP was beneficial to male reproduction by increasing the quality, quantity, and motility of sperm, improving sexual performance, and protecting the testis against toxic insults [13]–[15]. In addition, many other biological activities have been reported, including hypoglycemic [16], [17], hypolipidemic [17], anticancer [18]–[20], and immune effects [19], [21], [22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lycium barbarum is used both as a food additive and as a medicinal herb in many countries, and L. barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs), a major cell component, are reported to have a wide range of beneficial effects including neuroprotection, anti-aging and anticancer properties, and immune modulation. The effects of LBPs on neuronal function, neurogenesis, and drug-induced learning and memory deficits have not been assessed. We report the therapeutic effects of LBPs on learning and memory and neurogenesis in scopolamine (SCO)-treated rats. LBPs were administered via gastric perfusion for 2 weeks before the onset of subcutaneous SCO treatment for a further 4 weeks. As expected, SCO impaired performance in novel object and object location recognition tasks, and Morris water maze. However, dual SCO- and LBP-treated rats spent significantly more time exploring the novel object or location in the recognition tasks and had significant shorter escape latency in the water maze. SCO administration led to a decrease in Ki67- or DCX-immunoreactive cells in the dentate gyrus and damage of dendritic development of the new neurons; LBP prevented these SCO-induced reductions in cell proliferation and neuroblast differentiation. LBP also protected SCO-induced loss of neuronal processes in DCX-immunoreactive neurons. Biochemical investigation indicated that LBP decreased the SCO-induced oxidative stress in hippocampus and reversed the ratio Bax/Bcl-2 that exhibited increase after SCO treatment. However, decrease of BDNF and increase of AChE induced by SCO showed no response to LBP administration. These results suggest that LBPs can prevent SCO-induced cognitive and memory deficits and reductions in cell proliferation and neuroblast differentiation. Suppression of oxidative stress and apoptosis may be involved in the above effects of LBPs that may be a promising candidate to restore memory functions and neurogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Chemical composition analyses demonstrated that LBP consisted of several monosaccharides, namely glucose, fructose and xylose [26], [27]. It has been proposed that LBP provides anti-aging [28], anti-tumor [29], [30], cytoprotective [15], and neural modulatory [31] effects. Furthermore, LBP can reduce exercise-induced oxidative damage by decreasing plasma MDA formation and increasing SOD and GPx activity [19], [32]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBP), extracts from the wolfberries, are protective to retina after ischemia-reperfusion (I/R). The antioxidant response element (ARE)-mediated antioxidant pathway plays an important role in maintaining the redox status of the retina. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), combined with potent AREs in its promoter, is a highly effective therapeutic target for the protection against neurodegenerative diseases, including I/R-induced retinal damage. The aim of our present study was to investigate whether the protective effect of LBP after I/R damage was mediated via activation of the Nrf2/HO-1-antioxidant pathway in the retina. Retinal I/R was induced by an increase in intraocular pressure to 130 mm Hg for 60 minutes. Prior to the induction of ischemia, rats were orally treated with either vehicle (PBS) or LBP (1 mg/kg) once a day for 1 week. For specific experiments, zinc protoporphyrin (ZnPP, 20 mg/kg), an HO-1 inhibitor, was intraperitoneally administered at 24 h prior to ischemia. The protective effects of LBP were evaluated by quantifying ganglion cell and amacrine cell survival, and by measuring cell apoptosis in the retinal layers. In addition, HO-1 expression was examined using Western blotting and immunofluorescence analyses. Cytosolic and nuclear Nrf2 was measured using immunofluorescent staining. LBP treatment significantly increased Nrf2 nuclear accumulation and HO-1 expression in the retina after I/R injury. Increased apoptosis and a decrease in the number of viable cells were observed in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) and inner nuclear layer (INL) in the I/R retina, which were reversed by LBP treatment. The HO-1 inhibitor, ZnPP, diminished the LBP treatment-induced protective effects in the retina after I/R. Taken together, these results suggested that LBP partially exerted its beneficial neuroprotective effects via the activation of Nrf2 and an increase in HO-1 protein expression.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, isolation and investigation of novel ingredients with biological activities and health benefit effects from natural resources have attracted a great deal of attention. The fruit of Lycium barbarum L., a well-known Chinese herbal medicine as well as valuable nourishing tonic, has been used historically as antipyretic, anti-inflammation and anti-senile agent for thousands of years. Modern pharmacological experiments have proved that polysaccharide is one of the major ingredients responsible for those biological activities in L. barbarum. It has been demonstrated that L. barbarum polysaccharides had various important biological activities, such as antioxidant, immunomodulation, antitumor, neuroprotection, radioprotection, anti-diabetes, hepatoprotection, anti-osteoporosis, antifatigue, and so on. The purpose of the present review is to summarize previous and current references regarding biological activities as well as potential health benefits of L. barbarum polysaccharides.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · International journal of biological macromolecules
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