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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 738131, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nen072
Original Article

Mumijo Traditional Medicine: Fossil Deposits from Antarctica (Chemical Composition and Beneficial Bioactivity)

1Dipartimento di Chimica delle Sostanze Naturali, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, via D. Montesano 49, 80131 Napoli, Italy
2Abteilung für Angewandte Molekularbiologie, Institut für Physiologische Chemie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Duesbergweg 6, 55099 Mainz, Germany

Received 8 July 2008; Accepted 10 October 2008

Copyright © 2011 Anna Aiello 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

Mumijo is a widely used traditional medicine, especially in Russia, Altai Mountains, Mongolia, Iran Kasachstan and in Kirgistan. Mumijo preparations have been successfully used for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases; they display immune-stimulating and antiallergic activity as well. In the present study, we investigate the chemical composition and the biomedical potential of a Mumijo(-related) product collected from the Antarctica. The yellow material originates from the snow petrels, Pagodroma nivea. Extensive purification and chemical analysis revealed that the fossil samples are a mixture of glycerol derivatives. In vitro experiments showed that the Mumijo extract caused in cortical neurons a strong neuroprotective effect against the apoptosis-inducing amyloid peptide fragment β-fragment 25–35 (Aβ25–35). In addition, the fraction rich in glycerol ethers/wax esters displayed a significant growth-promoting activity in permanent neuronal PC12 cells. It is concluded that this new Mumijo preparation has distinct and marked neuroprotective activity, very likely due to the content of glycerol ether derivatives.