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Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 Sep 5;519(1-2):9-15.

Huperzine A protects SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cells against oxidative stress damage via nerve growth factor production.

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State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Shanghai 201203, PR China.


Our previous study demonstrated that huperzine A, a selective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, stimulates the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF) in cultured rat cortical astrocytes. The present studies are designed to examine if huperzine A exerts its neuroprotective activity against oxidative stress damage through increasing the synthesis of NGF in SHSY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Transient exposure of the cells to 200 microM H2O2 triggered a significant reduction of cell viability and decreased the mRNA and protein levels of NGF, neurotrophin receptor P75 (P75NTR) receptor and tyrosine kinase A (TrkA) receptor. Incubation of cells with 10 microM huperzine A prior to H2O2 exposure significantly elevated their survival and restored the mRNA and protein levels of NGF, P75NTR receptor and TrkA receptor. These neuroprotective effects of huperzine A on H2O2-induced cytotoxicity were blocked by the TrkA receptor phosphorylation inhibitor K252alpha, and were antagonized by the mitogen-activated protein (MAP)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) inhibitor, PD98059. The present results indicate that the cytoprotective effect of huperzine A is mediated at least partly by up-regulated NGF and NGF receptors. The results also show that the MAP/ERK kinase signal pathway is crucial for huperzine A to protect against H2O2-induced damage in SHSY5Y cells.

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