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CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1871-5273
ISSN (Online): 1996-3181

Research Article

Cordycepin Exerts Neuroprotective Effects via an Anti-Apoptotic Mechanism based on the Mitochondrial Pathway in a Rotenone-Induced Parkinsonism Rat Model

Author(s): Xin Jiang, Pei-Chen Tang, Qin Chen, Xin Zhang, Yi-Yun Fan, Bo-Cheng Yu, Xin-Xia Gu, Ying Sun, Xiao-Qun Ge* and Xiao-Ling Zhang*

Volume 18, Issue 8, 2019

Page: [609 - 620] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1871527318666190905152138

Price: $65


Background: Cordycepin (Cor), one of the major bioactive components of the traditional Chinese medicine Cordyceps militaris, has been used in clinical practice for several years. However, its neuroprotective effect remains unknown.

Aims: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of Cor using a rotenoneinduced Parkinson’s Disease (PD) rat model and to delineate the possible associated molecular mechanisms.

Methods: In vivo, behavioural tests were performed based on the 10-point scale and grid tests. Levels of dopamine and its metabolites in the striatum and the numbers of TH-positive neurons in the Substantia Nigra pars compacta (SNpc) were investigated by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection and immunohistochemical staining, respectively. In vitro, cell apoptosis rates and Mitochondrial Membrane Potential (MMP) were analysed by flow cytometry and the mRNA and protein levels of Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Cytochrome c (Cyt-c), and caspase-3 were determined by quantitative real-time PCR and western blotting.

Results: Showed that Cor significantly improved dyskinesia, increased the numbers of TH-positive neurons in the SNpc, and maintained levels of dopamine and its metabolites in the striatum in rotenone- induced PD rats. We also found that apoptosis was suppressed and the loss of MMP was reversed with Cor treatment. Furthermore, Cor markedly down-regulated the expression of Bax, upregulated Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, inhibited the activation of caspase-3, and decreased the release of Cyt-c from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm, as compared to those in the rotenone-treated group.

Conclusion: Therefore, Cor protected dopamine neurons against rotenone-induced apoptosis by improving mitochondrial dysfunction in a PD model, demonstrating its therapeutic potential for this disease.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease, cordycepin, rotenone, apoptosis, mitochondria, Cordyceps militaris.

Graphical Abstract
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