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Neurochem Res. 2014 Jan;39(1):59-67. doi: 10.1007/s11064-013-1190-1. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

Geissoschizine methyl ether, an alkaloid from the Uncaria hook, improves remyelination after cuprizone-induced demyelination in medial prefrontal cortex of adult mice.

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Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Nara Medical University, 840 Shijo-cho, Kashihara, Nara, 634-8521, Japan,


Accumulating evidence indicates that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is a site of myelin and oligodendrocyte abnormalities that contribute to psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. The development of therapeutic approaches to enhance remyelination, a regenerative process in which new myelin sheaths are formed on demyelinated axons, may be an attractive remedial strategy. Geissoschizine methyl ether (GM) in the Uncaria hook, a galenical constituent of the traditional Japanese medicine yokukansan (Yi-gan san), is one of the active components responsible for the psychotropic effects of yokukansan, though little is known about the mechanisms underlying the effects of either that medicine or GM itself. In the present study, we employed a cuprizone (CPZ)-induced demyelination model and examined the cellular changes in response to GM administration during the remyelination phase in the mPFC of adult mice. Using the mitotic marker 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU), we demonstrated that CPZ treatment significantly increased the number of BrdU-positive NG2 cells, as well as microglia and mature oligodendrocytes in the mPFC. Newly formed oligodendrocytes were increased by GM administration after CPZ exposure. In addition, GM attenuated a decrease in myelin basic protein immunoreactivity caused by CPZ administration. Taken together, our findings suggest that GM administration ameliorated the myelin deficit by mature oligodendrocyte formation and remyelination in the mPFC of CPZ-fed mice. The present findings provide experimental evidence supporting the role for GM and its possible use as a remedy for schizophrenia symptoms by promoting the differentiation of progenitor cells to and myelination by oligodendrocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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