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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 736085, 10 pages
Research Article

Inhibitory Effect of Matrine on Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption for the Treatment of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

1Department of Pharmacy, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450052, Henan, China
2Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450052, Henan, China
3Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

Received 2 May 2013; Accepted 22 July 2013

Academic Editor: Andrew MacLean

Copyright © 2013 Su Zhang 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.


Dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a primary characteristic of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an experimental model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Matrine (MAT), a quinolizidine alkaloid derived from the herb Radix Sophorae Flave, has been recently found to suppress clinical EAE and CNS inflammation. However, whether this effect of MAT is through protecting the integrity and function of the BBB is not known. In the present study, we show that MAT treatment had a therapeutic effect comparable to dexamethasone (DEX) in EAE rats, with reduced Evans Blue extravasation, increased expression of collagen IV, the major component of the basement membrane, and the structure of tight junction (TJ) adaptor protein Zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1). Furthermore, MAT treatment attenuated expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 and -2 (MMP-9/-2), while it increased the expression of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase-1 and -2 (TIMP-1/-2). Our findings demonstrate that MAT reduces BBB leakage by strengthening basement membrane, inhibiting activities of MMP-2 and -9, and upregulating their inhibitors. Taken together, our results identify a novel mechanism underlying the effect of MAT, a natural compound that could be a novel therapy for MS.