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Keywords:

  • Bak Foong Pills (BFP);
  • 6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA);
  • PC12 cell;
  • Apoptosis;
  • Parkinson's disease

Abstract

Bak Foong Pills (BFP), a traditional Chinese medicine used for centuries for the enhancement of women's health, was shown to display neuro-protective activity in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,4,6,-tetrahydro-pyridine (MPTP)-induced mouse model in a previous study. In order to elucidate its mechanism of action, we investigated the anti-apoptotic properties of Bak Foong Pills and its main ingredients, including Panax ginseng, Angelica sinensis, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, and Ligusticum chuanxiong, in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-treated PC12 cell model. The addition of the neurotoxin could cause significant cell death and reduction of cell proliferation, as shown in the results determined by MTT assay, nitric oxide (NO) measurement and flow cytometric propidium iodine (PI) staining analysis, while pre-treatment of PC12 cell with either BFP or its main ingredients prevented the toxicity to some degree. In addition, the neurotoxin caused an elevated activation of caspase-3, the key enzyme for activation of the cellular apoptotic cascade, whereas BFP or its main ingredients inhibited the activation of caspase-3. These results strongly indicate that BFP and its main ingredients may provide a useful therapeutic strategy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease.