A Chinese medicine preparation induces neuroprotection by regulating paracrine signaling of brain microvascular endothelial cells

Weihong Li, Pengtao Li, Ziwang Liu, Qinghong Du, Andre Steinmetz, Ning Wang, Huan Du, Jinghong Hu
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2014, 151 (1): 686-93

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Tong Luo Jiu Nao injection (TLJN), a Chinese medicine preparation, was extracted from the Chinese herbs Panax notoginseng and Gardenia jasminoides. Its pharmacological effect on cerebral ischemia was observed in the study. We previously reported that paracrine signaling of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) had a direct impact on the survival of neurons in mimicked cerebral ischemia in vitro. The current study was designed to investigate whether paracrine signaling of BMECs could be regulated by drug to achieve neuroprotection.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: First, an in vitro model of cerebral ischemia in BMECs or neurons was established by oxygen-glucose-deprivation (OGD). TLJN was used as a medicine of intervention. Injured neurons were cultured in the conditioned media from normal and injured BMECs treated with TLJN. The changes in neurons, including the expression of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor 1(NMDAR1), Ca(2+) concentration, cytochrome c release, the mitochondrial membrane potential, were determined by the immunofluorescence staining and molecular Probes. The content of Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet activating factor (PAF) in various BMECs were also examined by Western blotting and Elisa.

RESULTS: The results showed the activity of injured neurons was significantly increased when they were grown in conditioned media of normal or injured BMECs treated with TLJN, compared with that of normal or injured BMECs. These changes include a decrease of Ca(2+) concentration, of NMDAR1 expression, and of cytochrome c release, also an increase of the mitochondrial membrane potential. Moreover, the VEGF expression was up-regulated and the PAF expression was down-regulated by TLJN in BMECs.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that a neuroprotective effect of TLJN could be achieved by regulating paracrine signaling of BMECs, which could in part be explained by a TLJN-induced up-regulation of VEGF and a down-regulation of PAF in BMECs. Therefore, regulating the paracrine of BMECs could be the important target of the drug action on injured-neurons, which may be a novel path for therapeutic intervention in ischemic injury.

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