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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2006 Jun;317(3):1143-9. Epub 2006 Feb 22.

The spice sage and its active ingredient rosmarinic acid protect PC12 cells from amyloid-beta peptide-induced neurotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II, via D. Montesano 49, 80131 Naples, Italy.


Traditional use and clinical reports suggest that the culinary herb sage (Salvia officinalis) may be effective for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study, we evaluated the effect of a standardized extract from the leaves of S. officinalis (SOE) and its active ingredient rosmarinic acid on Alzheimer amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta)-induced toxicity in cultured rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. Incubation of PC12 cells with Abeta (fragment 1-42) for 24 h caused cell death, and this effect was reduced by SOE and its active ingredient, rosmarinic acid. Rosmarinic acid reduced a number of events induced by Abeta. These include reactive oxygen species formation, lipid peroxidation, DNA fragmentation, caspase-3 activation, and tau protein hyperphosphorylation. Moreover, rosmarinic acid inhibited phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase but not glycogen synthase kinase 3beta activation. These data show the neuroprotective effect of sage against Abeta-induced toxicity, which could validate the traditional use of this spice in the treatment of AD. Rosmarinic acid could contribute, at least in part, for sage-induced neuroprotective effect.

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