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Neurochem Int. 2013 Jul;63(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2013.04.005. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Celastrol protects human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells from rotenone-induced injury through induction of autophagy.

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Department of Neurology, First affiliated hospital, Medical College of Xi'an Jiao Tong University, Xi'an 710061, China.


Celastrol, an active component found in the Chinese herb tripterygium wilfordii has been identified as a neuroprotective agent for neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD) through unknown mechanism. Celastrol can induce autophagy, which plays a neuroprotective role in PD. We tested the protective effect of celastrol on rotenone-induced injury and investigated the underlying mechanism using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. The SH-SY5Y cells were treated with celastrol before rotenone exposure. The cells survival, apoptosis, accumulation of α-synuclein, oxidative stress and mitochondrial function, and autophagy production were analyzed. We found celastrol (500 nM) pre-treatment enhanced cell viability (by 28.99%, P<0.001), decreased cell apoptosis (by 54.38%, P<0.001), increased SOD and GSH (by 120.53% and 90.46%, P<0.01), reduced accumulation of α-synuclein (by 35.93%, P<0.001) and ROS generation (by 33.99%, P<0.001), preserved MMP (33.93±3.62%, vs. 15.10±0.71% of JC-1 monomer, P<0.001) and reduced the level of cytochrome C in cytosol (by 45.57%, P<0.001) in rotenone treated SH-SY5Y cells. Moreover, celastrol increased LC3-II/LC3 I ratio by 60.92% (P<0.001), indicating that celastrol activated autophagic pathways. Inhibiting autophagy by 3-methyladenine (3-MA) abolished the protective effects of celastrol. Our results suggested that celastrol protects SH-SY5Y cells from rotenone induced injuries and autophagic pathway is involved in celastrol neuroprotective effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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