Bak Foong protects dopaminergic neurons against MPTP-induced neurotoxicity by its anti-apoptotic activity

Authors

  • Bin Liu,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
    2. Department of Physiology, Medical College, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266021, PR China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jun Xia Xie,

    1. Department of Physiology, Medical College, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266021, PR China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lai Ling Tsang,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dewi Kenneth Rowlands,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lok Sze Ho,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Yu Lin Gou,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Yiu Wa Chung,

    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hsiao Chang Chan

    Corresponding author
    1. Epithelial Cell Biology Research Centre, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
      Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2609 6839; fax: +852 2603 5022. hsiaocchan@cuhk.edu.hk
    Search for more papers by this author

Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2609 6839; fax: +852 2603 5022. hsiaocchan@cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

Bak Foong pill (BFP) is a well-known traditional Chinese medicine used for treatment of various gynaecological disorders. In addition, it exerts beneficial effects on other functional systems including the central nervous system. In the present study, we have investigated the possible neuroprotective action of BFP upon the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system by examining its effect on the expression patterns of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine transporter (DAT) in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahyrdropyridine (MPTP)-induced Parkinson's disease (PD) mouse model. MPTP significantly decreased TH and DAT mRNA levels in the striatum and midbrain of both female and male C57BL/6 mice. However, with BFP pre-treatment mice showed a reduced neurotoxicity, with TH and DAT mRNA levels either not affected by MPTP or affected to a lesser extent in the midbrain and striatum when compared to vehicle treated animals. Possible anti-apoptotic activity of BFP was further studied in a dopamine-secreting neuroendocrine cell line, PC12. In this assay, MPTP elevated the expression of a pro-apoptotic gene, Bax, while this expression was reduced by BFP pre-treatment. Flow cytometry results also revealed that the effect of MPTP-induced apoptosis in PC12 cell lines was significantly reduced by BFP. The present results suggest that BFP is able to protect dopaminergic neurons from neurotoxin-induced neuronal injury with anti-apoptotic activity being one of the possible mechanisms.

Ancillary