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Toxicology. 2011 Sep 5;287(1-3):124-30. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2011.06.006. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

Ginkgolide B attenuates ethanol-induced neurotoxicity through regulating NADPH oxidases.

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Department of Neurobiology, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China.


Ethanol has long been demonstrated to trigger cell apoptosis in the central nervous system. The over-production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is considered as one of the most important mechanisms involving in the apoptosis caused by ethanol. Ginkgolide B (GB), which was widely used as a monomer of traditional Chinese medicine, was reported to scavenge free radicals in endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. But whether GB can prevent ethanol-induced neurotoxicity is still unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate effects of GB on ethanol-induced cytotoxicity, oxidative stress and apoptosis and explore potential protective molecular mechanism of GB. It was found that GB inhibited cell injury and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner in ethanol-treated PC12 cells by MTT and LDH assays. It was also found that activities of caspase-3 increased by ethanol were mostly abrogated by GB. Further, GB decreased the production of ROS and subsequent over-production of lipid peroxides. A significant increase of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and CYP2E1 enzyme activity was found in the ethanol-exposed PC12 cells as compared to controls. However, GB pretreatment did not significantly affect ethanol-induced ADH and CYP2E1 activities. Quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot analysis demonstrated that ethanol treatment resulted in a significant increase in mRNA and protein expression of NADPH oxidases, which are main oxidases producing ROS in neurons. Moreover, expression and activities of NADPH oxidases were down-regulated by GB. These results indicate that ethanol-induced neurotoxicity is ameliorated by GB mainly through regulating expression and activity of NADPH oxidases.

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