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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Oct 31;444(3):270-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.08.040. Epub 2008 Aug 19.

Chitooligosaccharides protect cultured hippocampal neurons against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity.

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Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, 19 Qixiu Road, Nantong, JS 226001, PR China.


Chitooligosaccharides (COSs), the biodegradation product of chitosan, have demonstrated a diverse array of biological activities. Here we report the protective effect of COSs (M.W. 800) against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in cultured hippocampal neurons. The cell viability assessments, together with Hoechst 33342 staining and flow cytometry for cell apoptosis analysis, indicated that glutamate (125 microM)-induced cell apoptosis in cultured hippocampal neurons was attenuated in a concentration-dependent manner by COSs pretreatment. After measurement with Fluo 4-AM, COSs were found to depress glutamate-induced elevation in intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](c)). The enzymatic assay indicated that COSs antagonized glutamate-evoked activation of caspase-3. These results collectively suggest that COSs prevent cultured hippocampal neurons from glutamate-induced cell damage by interfering with an increase in [Ca(2+)](c) and inhibiting caspase-3 activity.

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