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Neuroreport. 2005 Feb 28;16(3):267-70.

Genistein protects dopaminergic neurons by inhibiting microglial activation.

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  • 1Department of Neurology & Institute of Neurology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Second Medical University, Shanghai 200025, China.


Inflammation participates in the pathogenesis and progression of Parkinson's disease, in which microglia play a key role. Inhibition of microglia activation has been shown to attenuate inflammation-mediated dopaminergic neurodegeneration. In this study, we found that genistein, the primary soybean isoflavone, concentration-dependently attenuated the lipopolysaccharide-induced decrease in dopamine uptake and loss of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons in rat mesencephalic neuron-glia cultures. Genistein also inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced microglia activation and production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, nitric oxide and superoxide in mesencephalic neuron-glia cultures and microglia-enriched cultures. Our results indicate that genistein may protect dopaminergic neurons from lipopolysaccharide-induced injury and its effective inhibition of microglia activation may be one of the mechanisms.

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