Neuroprotective Effect of Oxysophocarpine by Modulation of MAPK Pathway in Rat Hippocampal Neurons Subject to Oxygen–Glucose Deprivation and Reperfusion
CONTEXT Oxysophocarpine (OSC), a quinolizidine alkaloid extracted from leguminous plants of the genus Robinia, is traditionally used for various diseases including neuronal disorders. OBJECTIVE This study investigated the protective effects of OSC on neonatal rat primary-cultured hippocampal neurons were injured by oxygen-glucose deprivation and reperfusion (OGD/RP). MATERIALS AND METHODS Cultured hippocampal neurons were exposed to OGD for 2 h followed by a 24 h RP. OSC (1, 2, and 5 μmol/L) and nimodipine (Nim) (12 μmol/L) were added to the culture after OGD but before RP. The cultures of the control group were not exposed to OGD/RP. MTT and LDH assay were used to evaluate the protective effects of OSC. The concentration of intracellular-free calcium [Ca(2+)]i and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were determined to evaluate the degree of neuronal damage. Morphologic changes of neurons following OGD/RP were observed with a microscope. The expression of caspase-3 and caspase-12 mRNA was examined by real-time quantitative PCR. RESULTS The IC50 of OSC was found to be 100 μmol/L. Treatment with OSC (1, 2, and 5 μmol/L) attenuated neuronal damage (p < 0.001), with evidence of increased cell viability (p < 0.001) and decreased cell morphologic impairment. Furthermore, OSC increased MMP (p < 0.001), but it inhibited [Ca(2+)]i (p < 0.001) elevation in a dose-dependent manner at OGD/RP. OSC (5 μmol/L) also decreased the expression of caspase-3 (p < 0.05) and caspase-12 (p < 0.05). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The results suggested that OSC has significant neuroprotective effects that can be attributed to inhibiting endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis.