Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Neurol. 2003 Jan;179(1):28-37.

Neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects of tripchlorolide, an extract of Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F, on dopaminergic neurons.

Author information

Neuroscience Research Institute, Peking University, 38 Xueyuan Road, Beijing 100083, People's Republic of China.


It has been reported recently that the immunosuppressant FK506 produced neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects on dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in vivo. We investigated whether tripchlorolide, an immunosuppressive extract of Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F, could exert similar neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects similar to those of FK506. It was found that tripchlorolide promoted axonal elongation and protected dopaminergic neurons from a neurotoxic lesion induced by 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+) at concentrations of as low as 10(-12) to 10(-8) M. In situ hybridization study revealed that tripchlorolide stimulated brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression. In vivo administration of tripchlorolide (1 microg/kg, ip) for 28 days effectively attenuated the rotational behavior challenged by D-amphetamine in the model rats by transection of the medial forebrain bundle. In addition, tripchlorolide treatment (0.5 or 1 microg/kg/day for 28 days) increased the survival of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta by 50 and 67%, respectively. Moreover, tripchlorolide markedly prevented the decrease in amount of dopamine in the striatum of model rats. Taken together, our data provide the first evidence that tripchlorolide acts as a neuroprotective molecule that rescues MPP+ or axotomy-induced degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, which may imply its therapeutic potential for Parkinson's disease. The underlying mechanism may be relevant to its neurotrophic effect and its efficacy in stimulating the expression of BDNF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center