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Neurosci Lett. 2001 Oct 26;312(3):125-8.

Alpha-lipoic acid protects rat cortical neurons against cell death induced by amyloid and hydrogen peroxide through the Akt signalling pathway.

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Behavioral Endocrinology Branch, NIMH, NIH, Building 10, Room 3N238, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Substantial evidence suggests that the accumulation of beta-amyloid (Abeta)-derived peptides contributes to the aetiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) by stimulating formation of free radicals. Thus, the antioxidant alpha-lipoate, which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, would seem an ideal substance in the treatment of AD. We have investigated the potential effectiveness of alpha-lipoic acid (LA) against cytotoxicity induced by Abeta peptide (31-35) (30 microM) and hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) (100 microM) with the cellular 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) reduction and fluorescence dye propidium iodide assays in primary neurons of rat cerebral cortex. We found that treatment with LA protected cortical neurons against cytotoxicity induced by Abeta or H(2)O(2). In addition, LA-induced increase in the level of Akt in the neurons was observed by Western blot. The LA-induced neuroprotection and Akt increase were attenuated by pre-treatment with the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002 (50 microM). Our data suggest that the neuroprotective effects of the antioxidant LA are partly mediated through activation of the PKB/Akt signaling pathway.

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