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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 682720, 11 pages
Research Article

A Pilot Study for the Neuroprotective Effect of Gongjin-dan on Transient Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion-Induced Ischemic Rat Brain

1Institute of Catholic Integrative Medicine (ICIM), Incheon St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Incheon 403-720, Republic of Korea
2Department of Radiology, Incheon St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Incheon 403-720, Republic of Korea
3Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA

Received 30 January 2012; Revised 30 March 2012; Accepted 31 March 2012

Academic Editor: Ilkay Erdogan Orhan

Copyright © 2012 Yun-Young Sunwoo 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.


In this study, we investigated whether gongjin-dan improves functional recovery and has neuroprotective effects on reducing the infarct volume after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Infarct volume was measured using TTC staining and glucose utilization by F-18 FDG PET. Functional improvement was evaluated with the Rota-rod, treadmill, Garcia score test, and adhesive removal test. At 14 days after MCAo, neuronal cell survival, astrocytes expansion, and apoptosis were assessed by immunohistofluorescence staining in the peri-infarct region. Also, the expression of neurotrophic factors and inflammatory cytokines such as VEGF, BDNF, Cox-2, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-1α was measured in ischemic hemisphere regions. The gongjin-dan-treated group showed both reduced infarct volume and increased glucose utilization. Behavior tests demonstrated a significant improvement compared to the control. Also in the gongjin-dan treated group, NeuN-positive cells were increased and number of astrocytes, microglia, and apoptotic cells was significantly decreased compared with the control group in the ischemic peri-infarct area. Furthermore, the expression of VEGF and BDNF was increased and level of Cox-2, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-1α was decreased. These results suggest that gongjin-dan may improve functional outcome through the rapid restoration of metabolism and can be considered as a potential neuroprotective agent.