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Aging (Albany NY). 2019 Feb 13;11(3):986-1007. doi: 10.18632/aging.101804.

Shaoyao Gancao Tang (SG-Tang), a formulated Chinese medicine, reduces aggregation and exerts neuroprotection in spinocerebellar ataxia type 17 (SCA17) cell and mouse models.

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Department of Neurology, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang-Gung University College of Medicine, Taoyuan 33305, Taiwan.
Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 11677, Taiwan.
Brion Research Institute, New Taipei City 23143, Taiwan.


Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) type 17 is an autosomal dominant ataxia caused by expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the TATA-box binding protein (TBP). Substantial studies have shown involvement of compromised mitochondria biogenesis regulator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma-coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α), nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2), nuclear factor-Y subunit A (NFYA), and their downstream target genes in the pathogenesis of polyQ-expansion diseases. The extracts of Paeonia lactiflora (P. lactiflora) and Glycyrrhiza uralensis (G. uralensis) have long been used as a Chinese herbal medicine (CHM). Shaoyao Gancao Tang (SG-Tang) is a formulated CHM made of P. lactiflora and G. uralensis at a 1:1 ratio. In the present study, we demonstrated the aggregate-inhibitory and anti-oxidative effect of SG-Tang in 293 TBP/Q79 cells. We then showed that SG-Tang reduced the aggregates and ameliorated the neurite outgrowth deficits in TBP/Q79 SH-SY5Y cells. SG-Tang upregulated expression levels of NFYA, PGC-1α, NRF2, and their downstream target genes in TBP/Q79 SH-SY5Y cells. Knock down of NFYA, PGC-1α, and NRF2 attenuated the neurite outgrowth promoting effect of SG-Tang on TBP/Q79 SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, SG-Tang inhibited aggregation and rescued motor-deficits in SCA17 mouse model. The study results suggest the potential of SG-Tang in treating SCA17 and probable other polyQ diseases.


NFYA; NRF2; PGC-1α; Shaoyao Gancao Tang; oxidative stress; polyQ aggregates; spinocerebellar ataxia 17/TBP

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