Journal of pharmacological sciences

Schizandrin protects primary cultures of rat cortical cells from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity.

PMID 18490855


The neuroprotective effect of schizandrin on the glutamate (Glu)-induced neuronal excitotoxicity and its potential mechanisms were investigated using primary cultures of rat cortical cells. After exposure of primary cultures of rat cortical cells to 10 microM Glu for 24 h, cortical cell cultures exhibited remarkable apoptotic death. Pretreatment of the cortical cell cultures with schizandrin (10, 100 microM) for 2 h significantly protected cortical neurons against Glu-induced excitotoxicity. The neuroprotective activity of schizandrin was the most potent at the concentration of 100 microM. Schizandrin reduced apoptotic characteristics by DAPI staining in Glu-injured cortical cell cultures. In addition, schizandrin diminished the intracellular Ca2+ influx, inhibited the subsequent overproduction of nitric oxide (NO), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and cytochrome c, and preserved the mitochondrial membrane potential. Furthermore, schizandrin also increased the cellular level of glutathione (GSH) and inhibited the membrane lipid peroxidation malondialdehyde (MDA). As indicated by Western blotting, schizandrin attenuated the protein level changes of procaspase-9, caspase-9, and caspase-3 and cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Taken together, these results suggest that schizandrin protected primary cultures of rat cortical cells against Glu-induced apoptosis through a mitochondria-mediated pathway and oxidative stress.