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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 408501, 7 pages
Research Article

Puerarin Attenuates Cerebral Damage by Improving Cerebral Microcirculation in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats

1Out-Patient Department, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
2Department of Pathophysiology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China
3State Key Laboratory of Kidney Disease, Chinese PLA General Hospital, 2011DAV00088, Beijing 100853, China

Received 26 October 2013; Accepted 7 December 2013; Published 13 February 2014

Academic Editor: Syed Mohammed Basheeruddin Asdaq

Copyright © 2014 Xu-Dong Wu 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.


Puerariae Lobatae Radix (Gegen in Chinese) is the dried root of Pueraria lobata, a semiwoody, perennial, and leguminous vine native to China. Puerarin is one of the effective components of isoflavones isolated from the root of Pueraria lobata. Previous studies showed that extracts derived from the root of Pueraria lobata possessed antihypertensive effect. Our study is to investigate whether puerarin contributes to prevention of stroke by improving cerebral microcirculation in rats. Materials and Methods. Video microscopy and laser Doppler perfusion imaging on the pia mater were used to measure the diameter of microvessel and blood perfusion in 12-week old spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) and age-matched normotensive WKY rats. Histological alterations were observed by hematoxylin and eosin staining, and microvessel density in cerebral tissue was measured by immunohistochemical analysis with anti-Factor VIII antibody. Cell proliferation was detected by [3H]-TdR incorporation, and activities of p42/44 mitogen activated protein kinases (p42/44 MAPKs) were detected by western blot analysis in cultured cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (MECs). Results. Intravenous injection of puerarin relaxed arterioles and increased the blood flow perfusion in the pia mater in SHRs. Puerarin treatment for 14 days reduced the blood pressure to a normal level in SHRs ( ) and increased the arteriole diameter in the pia mater significantly as compared with vehicle treatment. Arteriole remodeling, edema, and ischemia in cerebral tissue were attenuated in puerarin-treated SHRs. Microvessel density in cerebral tissue was greater with puerarin than with vehicle treatment. Puerarin-treated MECs showed greater proliferation and p42/44 MAPKs activities than vehicle treatment. Conclusions. Puerarin possesses effects of antihypertension and stroke prevention by improved microcirculation in SHRs, which results from the increase in cerebral blood perfusion both by arteriole relaxation and p42/44 MAPKs-mediated angiogenesis.