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Neuropharmacology. 2011 Sep;61(4):622-31. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 May 14.

MLC901, a traditional Chinese medicine protects the brain against global ischemia.

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Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Valbonne, France.


Global ischemia leads to damage in the hippocampal CA1 region and is associated with behavioral deficits. NeuroAid (MLC601 and MLC901), a Traditional Chinese Medicine is used in China for patients after stroke. We have investigated here the effects of MLC901 on brain injury and deficits after global ischemia in the rat. Global ischemia induced by four-vessel occlusion resulted in degeneration of CA1 neurons. MLC901 (0.074 mg/ml) prevented both necrosis and apoptosis of neurons up to 3 h after ischemia. These positive MLC901 effects were associated with a decrease in Bax expression and in levels of the lipid peroxidation product malondialdehyde. Using the PI3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 we also demonstrated the critical role of the Akt pathway in MLC901-mediated neuroprotection. MLC901 enhanced neurogenesis. Furthermore, MLC901 improved functional recovery of rats after global ischemia as assessed by the Morris water maze. In this test MLC901 reduced the increase in escape latency and in swim distance induced by ischemia. MLC901 also improved post-ischemic grip strength. If observations made with rats can be extended to humans, then MLC901 will represent a novel therapeutic strategy after cardiac arrest with a clinically interesting time window of protection.

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