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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 147362, 14 pages
Research Article

A Systematic, Integrated Study on the Neuroprotective Effects of Hydroxysafflor Yellow A Revealed by NMR-Based Metabonomics and the NF- B Pathway

1State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substance and Function of Natural Medicines, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China
2School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100102, China

Received 5 February 2013; Accepted 2 March 2013

Academic Editor: Aiping Lu

Copyright © 2013 Yuanyan Liu 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.


Hydroxysafflor yellow A (HSYA) is the main active component of the Chinese herb Carthamus tinctorius L.. Purified HSYA is used as a neuroprotective agent to prevent cerebral ischemia. Injectable safflor yellow (50 mg, containing 35 mg HSYA) is widely used to treat patients with ischemic cardiocerebrovascular disease. However, it is unknown how HSYA exerts a protective effect on cerebral ischemia at the molecular level. A systematical integrated study, including histopathological examination, neurological evaluation, blood-brain barrier (BBB), metabonomics, and the nuclear factor- B (NF- B) pathway, was applied to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms of HSYA neuroprotection at the molecular level. HSYA could travel across the BBB, significantly reducing the infarct volume and improving the neurological functions of rats with ischemia. Treatment with HSYA could lead to relative corrections of the impaired metabolic pathways through energy metabolism disruption, excitatory amino acid toxicity, oxidative stress, and membrane disruption revealed by 1H NMR-based metabonomics. Meanwhile, HSYA treatment inhibits the NF- B pathway via suppressing proinflammatory cytokine expression and p65 translocation and binding activity while upregulating an anti-inflammatory cytokine.