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Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 Aug 15;714(1-3):303-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.07.036. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

Ruscogenin reduces cerebral ischemic injury via NF-κB-mediated inflammatory pathway in the mouse model of experimental stroke.

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State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, Department of Complex Prescription of TCM, China Pharmaceutical University, 639 Longmian Road, Nanjing 211198, PR China.


Transient cerebral ischemia initiates a complex series of inflammatory events, which has been associated with an increase in behavioral deficits and secondary brain damage. Ruscogenin is a major steroid sapogenin in the traditional Chinese herb Ophiopogon japonicus that have multiple bioactivities. Recent studies have demonstrated that Ruscogenin is involved in down-regulation of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation in anti-inflammatory pathways. We hypothesized that Ruscogenin protects against brain ischemia by inhibiting NF-κB-mediated inflammatory pathway. To test this hypothesis, adult male mice (C57BL/6 strain) were pretreated with Ruscogenin and then subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO)/reperfusion. After 1 h MCAO and 24 h reperfusion, neurological deficit, infarct sizes, and brain water content were measured. Ruscogenin markedly decreased the infarct size, improved neurological deficits and reduced brain water content after MCAO. The activation of NF-κB Signaling pathway was observed after 1h of ischemia and 1h of reperfusion, and Ruscogenin significantly inhibited NF-κB p65 expression, phosphorylation and translocation from cytosol to nucleus at this time point in a dose-dependent manner. NF-κB DNA binding activity, and the expression of NF-κB target genes, including ICAM-1, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase (COX-2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β), were also suppressed by Ruscogenin pretreatment after 1 h MCAO and 24 h reperfusion. The results indicated that Ruscogenin protected the brain against ischemic damage caused by MCAO, and this effect may be through downregulation of NF-κB-mediated inflammatory responses.


Inflammation; Middle cerebral artery occlusion; NF-κB; Ruscogenin; Stroke

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