Anti-apoptotic activity of Bak Foong Pills and its ingredients on 6-hydroxydopamine-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells

Authors

  • Rui Rui Jia,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center; Department of Physiology; The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China
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  • Yu Lin Gou,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources in West China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, China
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  • Lok Sze Ho,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center; Department of Physiology; The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China
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  • Chuen-Pei Ng,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center; Department of Physiology; The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China
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  • Ning Hua Tan,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources in West China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan, China
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  • Hsiao Chang Chan

    Corresponding author
    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Center; Department of Physiology; The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China
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Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2609 6839; fax: +852 2603 5022. hsiaocchan@cuhk.edu.hk

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.

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