Journal of natural products

Neural cell activation by phenolic compounds from the Siberian larch (Larix sibirica).

PMID 24963869


Small organic phenolic compounds from natural sources have attracted increasing attention due to their potential to ameliorate the serious consequences of acute and chronic traumata of the mammalian nervous system. In this contribution, it is reported that phenols from the knot zones of Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) wood, namely, the antioxidant flavonoid (+)-dihydroquercetin (1) and the lignans (-)-secoisolariciresinol (2) and (+)-isolariciresinol (3), affect migration and outgrowth of neurites/processes from cultured neurons and glial cells of embryonic and early postnatal mice. Compounds 1-3, which were available in preparative amounts, enhanced neurite outgrowth from cerebellar granule neurons, dorsal root ganglion neurons, and motoneurons, as well as process formation of Schwann cells in a dose-dependent manner in the low nanomolar range. Migration of cultured astrocytes was inhibited by 1-3, and migration of neurons out of cerebellar explants was enhanced by 1. These observations provide evidence for the neuroactive features of these phenolic compounds in enhancing the beneficial properties of neurons and reducing the inhibitory properties of activated astrocytes in an in vitro setting and encourage the further investigation of these effects in vivo, in animal models of acute and chronic neurological diseases.