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Exp Brain Res. 2007 Mar;177(4):533-9. Epub 2006 Sep 28.

Neuroprotective effects of safflor yellow B on brain ischemic injury.

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Department of Pharmacology, Xi'an Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710061, People's Republic of China.


The present study was conducted to investigate whether safflor yellow B (SYB) had a protective effect on cerebral ischemic injury and to determine the possible mechanisms in vivo and in vitro. In vivo, Male Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats were used to make the model of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). The behavioral test was used to measure neurological deficit scores for evaluation of the ischemic damage of brain. The infarction area of brain was assessed in brain slices stained with 2% solution of 2,3,5-triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC). Spectrophotometric assay was used to determine the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), contents of malondialdehyde (MDA) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) of the brain. Furthermore, the respiratory control ratio (RCR = state 3/state 4) was assessed in the brain mitochondria. In vitro, the effect of SYB was tested in cultured fetal cortical cells exposed to glutamate to identify its neuroprotection against neurons damage. The results in vivo showed that SYB at doses of 3.0 and 6.0 mg kg(-1) markedly decreased the neurological deficit scores and the infarction area in MCAO rats. At the same time, SYB significantly improved mitochondrial energy metabolism, decreased MDA content, and increased SOD and GPx activities in ischemic brain. The results in vitro showed that SYB remarkably inhibited neuron damage induced by glutamate in cultured fetal cortical cells. These suggest that SYB might act as a potential neuroprotective agent against the cerebral ischemia-induced injury in rat brain through reducing lipid peroxides, scavenging free radicals, and improving the energy metabolism.

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