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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 398312, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/398312
Research Article

Nigella sativa L. Seed Extract Modulates the Neurotransmitter Amino Acids Release in Cultured Neurons In Vitro

1Pharmacology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Plaza Ramón y Cajal s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Plaza Ramón y Cajal s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 9 December 2009; Revised 22 March 2010; Accepted 19 April 2010

Academic Editor: Mohamed Boutjdir

Copyright © 2010 Tarek El-Naggar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Nigella sativa L. (NS) has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. This study aimed to investigate the cytotoxicity of NS dry methanolic extract on cultured cortical neurons and its influence on neurotransmitter release, as well as the presence of excitatory (glutamate and aspartate) and inhibitory amino acids (gamma-aminobutyric acid—GABA—and glycine) in NS extract. Cultured rat cortical neurons were exposed to different times and concentrations of NS dry methanolic extract and cell viability was then determined by a quantitative colorimetric method. NS did not induce any toxicity. The secretion of different amino acids was studied in primary cultured cortical neurons by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) using a derivation before injection with dansyl chloride. NS modulated amino acid release in cultured neurons; GABA was significantly increased whereas secretion of glutamate, aspartate, and glycine were decreased. The in vitro findings support the hypothesis that the sedative and depressive effects of NS observed in vivo could be based on changes of inhibitory/excitatory amino acids levels.