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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2011 Oct;63(10):1358-67. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2011.01342.x. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Leaf extract of Rhus verniciflua Stokes protects dopaminergic neuronal cells in a rotenone model of Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Alternative Medicine, Gwangju University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.



The present study investigated the neuroprotective effects of Rhus verniciflua Stokes (RVS) leaf extract on rotenone-induced apoptosis in human dopaminergic cells, SH-SY5Y.


Cells were pretreated with RVS extract for 1 h then treated with vehicle or rotenone for 24 h. Cell viability, cell cytotoxicity, cell morphology and nuclear morphology were examined by MTT assay, lactate dehydrogenase release assay, phase contrast microscopy and staining with Hoechast 33342, respectively. Reactive oxygen species were measured by 2'7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate and fragmented DNA was observed by TUNEL assay. Mitochondrial membrane potential was determined by Rhodamine 123. Pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic proteins and tyrosine hydroxylase were analysed by Western blotting.


Results showed that RVS suppressed rotenone-induced reactive oxygen species generation, cellular injury and apoptotic cell death. RVS also prevented rotenone-mediated changes in Bax/Bcl-2 levels, mitochondrial membrane potential dissipation and Caspase 3 activation. Moreover, RVS pretreatment increased the tyrosine hydroxylase levels in SH-SY5Y cells.


These findings demonstrate that RVS protects SH-SY5Y cells against rotenone-induced injury and suggest that RVS may have potential therapeutic value for neurodegenerative disease associated with oxidative stress.

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