Huperzine A protects sepsis associated encephalopathy by promoting the deficient cholinergic nervous function.
Neurosci Lett. 2016 Sep 19 ;631:70-8. Epub 2016 Jul 9. PMID: 27400829
Neuroinflammatory deregulation in the brain plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of sepsis associated encephalopathy (SAE). Given the mounting evidence of anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of the cholinergic nervous system, it is surprising that there is little information about its changes in the brain during sepsis. To elucidate the role of the cholinergic nervous system in SAE, hippocampal choline acetyltransferase, muscarinic acetylcholine receptor-1, acetylcholinesterase and acetylcholine were evaluated in LPS-induced sepsis rats. Expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, neuronal apoptosis, and animal cognitive performance were also assessed. Furthermore, therapeutic effects of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor Huperzine A (HupA) on the hippocampal cholinergic nervous function and neuroinflammation were evaluated. A deficiency of the cholinergic nervous function was revealed in SAE, accompanied with over-expressed pro-inflammatory cytokines, increase in neuronal apoptosis and brain cognitive impairment. HupA remarkably promoted the deficient cholinergic nervous function and attenuated the abnormal neuroinflammation in SAE, paralleled with the recovery of brain function. We suggest that the deficiency of the cholinergic nervous function and the abnormal neuroinflammation are synergistically implicated in the pathogenesis of SAE. Thus, HupA is a potential therapeutic candidate for SAE, as it improves the deficient cholinergic nervous function and exerts anti-inflammatory action.