Neuroprotective effects of anti-aging oriental medicine Lycium barbarum against beta-amyloid peptide neurotoxicity.
Exp Gerontol. 2005 Aug-Sep;40(8-9):716-27 PMID: 16139464
As aged population dramatically increases in these decades, efforts should be made on the intervention for curing age-associated neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Natural plant extracts of Lycium barbarum are well-known to exhibit anti-aging effects. We therefore hypothesized that they exhibit neuroprotective effects against toxins in aging-related neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether extracts from L. barbarum have neuroprotective effects against toxicity of fibrillar Abeta(1-42) and Abeta(25-35) fragments. Primary rat cortical neurons exposed to Abeta peptides resulted in apoptosis and necrosis. Pre-treatment with extract isolated from L. barbarum significantly reduced the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). In addition, it attenuated Abeta peptide-activated caspases-3-like activity. The extract elicited a typical dose-dependent neuroprotective effect. Effective dosage of this extract was wider than that of a well-known western neuroprotective medicine lithium chloride (LiCl). We have further examined the underlying mechanisms of the neuroprotective effects. In agreement with other laboratories, Abeta peptides induce a rapid activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) by phosphorylation. Pre-treatment of aqueous extract markedly reduced the phosphorylation of JNK-1 (Thr183/Tyr185) and its substrates c-Jun-I (Ser 73) and c-Jun-II (Ser 63). Taken together, we have proved our hypothesis by showing neuroprotective effects of the extract from L. barbarum. Study on anti-aging herbal medicine like L. barbarum may open a new therapeutic window for the prevention of AD..