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Exp Gerontol. 2005 Aug-Sep;40(8-9):716-27.

Neuroprotective effects of anti-aging oriental medicine Lycium barbarum against beta-amyloid peptide neurotoxicity.

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Laboratory of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Anatomy, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


As aged population dramatically increases in these decades, efforts should be made on the intervention for curing age-associated neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Natural plant extracts of Lycium barbarum are well-known to exhibit anti-aging effects. We therefore hypothesized that they exhibit neuroprotective effects against toxins in aging-related neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether extracts from L. barbarum have neuroprotective effects against toxicity of fibrillar Abeta(1-42) and Abeta(25-35) fragments. Primary rat cortical neurons exposed to Abeta peptides resulted in apoptosis and necrosis. Pre-treatment with extract isolated from L. barbarum significantly reduced the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). In addition, it attenuated Abeta peptide-activated caspases-3-like activity. The extract elicited a typical dose-dependent neuroprotective effect. Effective dosage of this extract was wider than that of a well-known western neuroprotective medicine lithium chloride (LiCl). We have further examined the underlying mechanisms of the neuroprotective effects. In agreement with other laboratories, Abeta peptides induce a rapid activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) by phosphorylation. Pre-treatment of aqueous extract markedly reduced the phosphorylation of JNK-1 (Thr183/Tyr185) and its substrates c-Jun-I (Ser 73) and c-Jun-II (Ser 63). Taken together, we have proved our hypothesis by showing neuroprotective effects of the extract from L. barbarum. Study on anti-aging herbal medicine like L. barbarum may open a new therapeutic window for the prevention of AD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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