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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2020, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (4): 344-350.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2020.01.008

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Extract of Naotaifang, a compound Chinese herbal medicine, protects neuron ferroptosis induced by acute cerebral ischemia in rats

Bin Lana, Jin-wen Gea, Shao-wu Chenga, Xi-long Zhengab, Jun Liaoa, Chao Hea, Zheng-qing Raoa, Guo-zuo Wanga()   

  1. a
    Key Laboratory of Hunan Province for Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine on Prevention and Treatment of Cardio-Cerebral Diseases, Hunan University of Chinese Medicine, Changsha, Hunan Province 410208, China
    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, Cumming School of Medicine, The University of Calgary, Health Sciences Center, Calgary, Alberta T2N4N1, Canada
  • Online:2020-07-10 Published:2020-01-21

Our previous research showed that Naotaifang (a compound traditional Chinese herbal medicine) extract (NTE) has clinically beneficial effects on neurological improvement of patients with acute cerebral ischemia. In this study, we investigated whether NTE protected acute brain injury in rats and whether its effects on ferroptosis could be linked to the dysfunction of glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) and iron metabolism.

We established an acute brain injury model of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rats, in which we could observe the accumulation of iron in neurons, as detected by Perl’s staining. Using assay kits, we measured expression levels of ferroptosis biomarkers, such as iron, glutathione (GSH), reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malonaldehyde (MDA); further the expression levels of transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1), divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1), solute carrier family 7 member 11 (SLC7A11) and GPX4 were determined using immunohistochemical analysis, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction and Western blot assays.

We found that treatment with NTE reduced the expression levels of TFR1 and DMT1, reduced ROS, MDA and iron accumulation and reduced neurobehavioral scores, relative to untreated MCAO rats. Treatment with NTE increased the expression levels of SLC7A11, GPX4 and GSH, and the number of Nissl bodies in the MCAO rats.

Taken together, our data suggest that acute cerebral ischemia induces neuronal ferroptosis and the effects of treating MCAO rats with NTE involved inhibition of ferroptosis through the TFR1/DMT1 and SCL7A11/GPX4 pathways.

Key words: Ischemic stroke, Ferroptosis, Naotaifang extract, Chinese herbal medicine, Iron, Glutathione peroxidase 4

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