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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 163057, 8 pages
Research Article

Isorhynchophylline Protects PC12 Cells Against Beta-Amyloid-Induced Apoptosis via PI3K/Akt Signaling Pathway

1School of Chinese Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
2College of Chinese Medicines, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, 510006 Guangzhou, China

Received 3 June 2013; Revised 12 September 2013; Accepted 23 September 2013

Academic Editor: Karl Wah-Keung Tsim

Copyright © 2013 Yan-Fang Xian 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.


The neurotoxicity of amyloid-β (Aβ) has been implicated as a critical cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Isorhynchophylline (IRN), an oxindole alkaloid isolated from Uncaria rhynchophylla, exerts neuroprotective effect against -induced neurotoxicity in vitro. However, the exact mechanism for its neuroprotective effect is not well understood. The present study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the protective action of IRN against -induced neurotoxicity in cultured rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. Pretreatment with IRN significantly increased the cell viability, inhibited the release of lactate dehydrogenase and the extent of DNA fragmentation in -treated cells. IRN treatment was able to enhance the protein levels of phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt) and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (p-GSK-3β). Lithium chloride blocked -induced cellular apoptosis in a similar manner as IRN, suggesting that GSK-3β inhibition was involved in neuroprotective action of IRN. Pretreatment with LY294002 completely abolished the protective effects of IRN. Furthermore, IRN reversed -induced attenuation in the level of phosphorylated cyclic AMP response element binding protein (p-CREB) and the effect of IRN could be blocked by the PI3K inhibitor. These experimental findings unambiguously suggested that the protective effect of IRN against -induced apoptosis in PC12 cells was associated with the enhancement of p-CREB expression via PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β signaling pathway.