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Int J Mol Med. 2014 Mar;33(3):597-604. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2013.1612. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

Neuroprotective effects of Gua Lou Gui Zhi decoction against glutamate-induced apoptosis in BV-2 cells.

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Fujian Academy of Integrative Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian 350108, P.R. China.
College of Rehabilitation Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, Fujian 350108, P.R. China.


Gua Lou Gui Zhi decoction (GLGZD), a traditional Chinese medicine consisting of different herbal medicines, has been used for centuries in the treatment of muscular spasticity following stroke, epilepsy or spinal cord injury. However, the precise mechanisms involved remain poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the neuroprotective effects of GLGZD on glutamate-induced apoptosis in cultured BV-2 cells, as well as the underlying mechanisms. A 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was applied to assess the viability of the cells. An Annexin V/propidium iodide (PI) assay was utilized to analyze cellular apoptosis. Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was evaluated by flow cytometry and laser scanning confocal microscopy. The gene and protein expression of the apoptosis-related genes, Bcl-2 and Bax, was analyzed by RT-PCR and western blot analysis, respectively. Furthermore, the expression of cleaved caspase-3 protein was detected by immunofluorescence. Glutamate treatment induced the loss of BV-2 cell viability, which was associated with an increase in the apoptotic rate, as well as an increase in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and the extracellular levels of cleaved caspase-3. Treatment with GLGZD significantly reversed these phenotypes, with its maximum protective effects observed at the concentration of 1,000 µg/ml. These results indicate that GLGZD protects BV-2 cells from glutamate-induced cytotoxicity. These protective effects may be ascribed to its anti-apoptotic activities, in part, associated with the decrease in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and caspase-3 expression, as well as with the stability of high mitochondrial membrane potential.

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