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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 459467, 16 pages
Research Article

PI3K/Akt Pathway Contributes to Neurovascular Unit Protection of Xiao-Xu-Ming Decoction against Focal Cerebral Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury in Rats

1Department of Integrative Medicine, Zhongshan Hospital, and Laboratory of Neurology, Institute of Integrative Medicine, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
2Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China
3Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510006, China
4Shuguang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200021, China

Received 7 February 2013; Revised 31 March 2013; Accepted 9 April 2013

Academic Editor: Roman Huber

Copyright © 2013 Rui Lan 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 the present study, we used a focal cerebral ischemia and reperfusion rat model to investigate the protective effects of Xiao-Xu-Ming decoction (XXMD) on neurovascular unit and to examine the role of PI3K (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase)/Akt pathway in this protection. The cerebral ischemia was induced by 90 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion. Cerebral infarct area was measured by tetrazolium staining, and neurological function was observed at 24 h after reperfusion. DNA fragmentation assay, combined with immunofluorescence, was performed to evaluate apoptosis of neuron, astrocyte, and vascular endothelial cell which constitute neurovascular unit. The expression levels of proteins involved in PI3K/Akt pathway were detected by Western blot. The results showed that XXMD improved neurological function, decreased cerebral infarct area and neuronal damage, and attenuated cellular apoptosis in neurovascular unit, while these effects were abolished by inhibition of PI3K/Akt with LY294002. We also found that XXMD upregulated p-PDKl, p-Akt, and p-GSK3β expression levels, which were partly reversed by LY294002. In addition, the increases of p-PTEN and p-c-Raf expression levels on which LY294002 had no effect were also observed in response to XXMD treatment. The data indicated the protective effects of XXMD on neurovascular unit partly through the activation of PI3K/Akt pathway.