The American journal of Chinese medicine

Protocatechuic Acid from Alpinia oxyphylla Induces Schwann Cell Migration via ERK1/2, JNK and p38 Activation.

PMID 26119854


Alpinia oxyphylla MIQ (Alpinate Oxyphyllae Fructus, AOF) is an important traditional Chinese medicinal herb whose fruits is widely used to prepare tonics and is used as an aphrodisiac, anti salivary, anti diuretic and nerve-protective agent. Protocatechuic acid (PCA), a simple phenolic compound was isolated from the kernels of AOF. This study investigated the role of PCA in promoting neural regeneration and the underlying molecular mechanisms. Nerve regeneration is a complex physiological response that takes place after injury. Schwann cells play a crucial role in the endogenous repair of peripheral nerves due to their ability to proliferate and migrate. The role of PCA in Schwann cell migration was determined by assessing the induced migration potential of RSC96 Schwann cells. PCA induced changes in the expression of proteins of three MAPK pathways, as determined using Western blot analysis. In order to determine the roles of MAPK (ERK1/2, JNK, and p38) pathways in PCA-induced matrix-degrading proteolytic enzyme (PAs and MMP2/9) production, the expression of several MAPK-associated proteins was analyzed after siRNA-mediated inhibition assays. Treatment with PCA-induced ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 phosphorylation that activated the downstream expression of PAs and MMPs. PCA-stimulated ERK1/2, JNK and p38 phosphorylation was attenuated by individual pretreatment with siRNAs or MAPK inhibitors (U0126, SP600125, and SB203580), resulting in the inhibition of migration and the uPA-related signal pathway. Taken together, our data suggest that PCA extract regulate the MAPK (ERK1/2, JNK, and p38)/PA (uPA, tPA)/MMP (MMP2, MMP9) mediated regeneration and migration signaling pathways in Schwann cells. Therefore, PCA plays a major role in Schwann cell migration and the regeneration of damaged peripheral nerve.