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Brain Res. 2007 Jul 16;1158:123-34. Epub 2007 May 6.

Characterizing the neuroprotective effects of alkaline extract of Lycium barbarum on beta-amyloid peptide neurotoxicity.

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


Lycium barbarum is an oriental medicinal herb that has long been used for its anti-aging and cell-protective properties. Previous studies have shown that aqueous extracts from L. barbarum exhibit neuroprotection via inhibiting pro-apoptotic signaling pathways. Other active components can also be accomplished by novel alkaline extraction method, which may give different profiles of water-soluble components. We hypothesize that another active component obtained by alkaline extraction method exerts different biological mechanisms to protect neurons. In this study, we aim to examine the neuroprotective effects from the alkaline extract of L. barbarum, namely LBB, to attenuate beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptide neurotoxicity. Primary cortical neurons were exposed to Abeta-peptides inducing apoptosis and neuronal cell death. Pretreatment of LBB significantly reduced the level of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and the activity of caspase-3 triggered by Abeta. "Wash-out" procedures did not reduce its neuroprotective effects, suggesting that LBB may not bind directly to Abeta. We have further isolated three subfractions from LBB, namely LBB-0, LBB-I and LBB-II. LBB-I and LBB-II showed differential neuroprotective effects. Western blot analysis demonstrated that LBB-I and LBB-II markedly enhanced the phosphorylation of Akt. Taken together, our results suggested that the glycoconjugate isolated from novel alkaline extraction method can open up a new avenue for drug discovery in neurodegenerative diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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