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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2012, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (10): 1135-1139.doi: 10.3736/jcim20121010

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Protective effects of Chinese herbal medicine Naoshuantong on neurovascular unit in rats with cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury

Qi-hong Shi1,  Jun Xiang2, Xu-ying Zhu3, Ding-fang Cai2()   

  1. 1. Department of Pharmacy, Qidong People’s Hospital, Qidong 226200, Jiangsu Province, China;
    2. Department of Integrative Medicine, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
    3. Department of Neurology, Shuguang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200021, China
  • Received:2012-07-06 Accepted:2012-08-25 Online:2012-10-20 Published:2018-10-15
  • Contact: Ding-fang Cai

Objective: To investigate the protective effects of Naoshuantong, a compound traditional Chinese herbal medicine, on the main components of neurovascular unit in rats with cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury. .

Methods: A total of 30 male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into sham-operated, ischemia/reperfusion, and ischemia/reperfusion plus Naoshuantong groups. The cerebral ischemia was induced by 1.5 h of middle cerebral artery occlusion, followed by unlocking the thread to induce reperfusion injury. After 24 h of reperfusion, neurological functional deficits were assessed, apoptosis of main components of neurovascular unit was determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick end-labeling combined with neuronal nuclei antigen, glial fibrillary acidic protein or CD31 immunofluorescence double staining.

Results: Naoshuantong significantly reduced neurological functional deficits, and reduced neuron, astrocyte and vascular endothelium cell apoptosis induced by ischemia/reperfusion injury in the border zone of ischemic cortex.

Conclusion: Naoshuantong is effective in protecting the neurovascular unit including neurons, astrocytes and vascular endothelium cells against cerebral ischemia/reperfusion-induced apoptosis.

Key words: drugs, Chinese herbal, brain ischemia, reperfusion injury, neurovascular unit, apoptosis, rats

Table 1

Effects of NST on neurological score after 24 h of reperfusion (Mean±standard deviation)"

Group n Neurological score
Sham-operated 10 0.00±0.00
I/R 10 2.50±0.41
NST 10 1.69±0.60*

Figure 1

Effects of Naoshuantong on neuron apoptosis observed by TUNEL method (A) Effects of NST on neuron apoptosis after 24 h of reperfusion (fluorescence microscopy, ×400). The neurons appeared red following NeuN staining and apoptotic cells were stained green by TUNEL. Typical apoptosis of neurons were yellow. (B) Quantitative analysis of apoptotic neurons after 24 h of reperfusion (n=5 in each group). Data are represented as mean ± standard deviation; **P<0.01, vs I/R group. I/R: ischemia reperfusion injury; NST: Naoshuantong; NeuN: neuronal nuclei; TUNEL: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick end-labeling."

Figure 2

Effects of Naoshuantong on astrocyte apoptosis observed by TUNEL method(A) Effects of NST on astrocyte apoptosis after 24 h of reperfusion (fluorescence microscopy, ×400). The astrocytes appeared red following GFAP staining and apoptotic cells were stained green by TUNEL. Typical apoptotic astrocytes were yellow. (B) Quantitative analysis of apoptotic astrocytes after 24 h of reperfusion (n=5 in each group). Data are represented as mean ± standard deviation; **P<0.01, vs I/R group. I/R: ischemia reperfusion injury; NST: Naoshuantong; GFAP: glial fibrillary acidic protein; TUNEL: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick end-labeling."

Figure 3

Effects of Naoshuantong on vascular endothelial cell apoptosis observed by TUNEL method (A) Effects of NST on vascular endothelial cell apoptosis after 24 h of reperfusion (fluorescence microscopy, ×400). The vascular endothelial cells appeared red following CD31 staining and apoptotic cells were stained green by TUNEL. Typical apoptotic vascular endothelial cells were yellow. (B) Quantitative analysis of apoptotic vascular endothelial cells after 24 h of reperfusion (n=5 in each group). Data are represented as mean ± standard deviation; **P<0.01, vs I/R group. I/R: ischemia reperfusion injury; NST: Naoshuantong; TUNEL: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick end-labeling."

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