Experimental and molecular pathology

Matrine protects neuro-axon from CNS inflammation-induced injury.

PMID 25576296


Neuro-axonal injury in the central nervous system (CNS) is one of the major pathological hallmarks of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an experimental model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Matrine (MAT), a quinolizidine alkaloid derived from the herb Radix Sophorae Flave, has recently been shown to effectively suppress EAE through an anti-inflammatory mechanism. However, whether MAT can also protect myelin/axons from damage is not known. In the present study we show that, while untreated rats developed severe clinical disease, CNS inflammatory demyelination, and axonal damage, these clinical and pathological signs were significantly reduced by MAT treatment. Consistently, MAT treatment reduced the concentration of myelin basic protein in serum and downregulated expression of β-amyloid (Aβ) and B-site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE-1) in the CNS. Further, the CNS of MAT-treated rats exhibited increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important factor for neuronal survival and axonal growth. Together, these results demonstrate that MAT effectively prevented neuro-axonal injury, which can likely be attributed to inhibiting risk factors such as BACE-1 and upregulating neuroprotective factors such as BDNF. We conclude that this novel natural reagent, MAT, which effectively protects neuro-axons from CNS inflammation-induced damage, could be a potential candidate for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as MS.