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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4517486, 13 pages
Research Article

Tanshinone IIA Inhibits Glutamate-Induced Oxidative Toxicity through Prevention of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Suppression of MAPK Activation in SH-SY5Y Human Neuroblastoma Cells

1Center for Bioresources & Drug Discovery and School of Biosciences & Biopharmaceutics, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou 510006, China
2School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430071, China
3Hunan Auragene Biotech Co., Ltd., Changsha 410013, China
4Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Biotechnology Drug Candidates, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou 510006, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Zebo Huang

Received 28 January 2017; Revised 17 April 2017; Accepted 2 May 2017; Published 11 June 2017

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Filomeni

Copyright © 2017 Haifeng Li 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.


Glutamate excitotoxicity is associated with many neurological diseases, including cerebral ischemia and neurodegenerative diseases. Tanshinone IIA, a diterpenoid naphthoquinone from Salvia miltiorrhiza, has been shown to suppress presynaptic glutamate release, but its protective mechanism against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity is lacking. Using SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells, we show here that excessive glutamate exposure decreases cell viability and proliferation and increases LDH release. Pretreatment with tanshinone IIA, however, prevents the decrease in cell viability and proliferation and the increase in LDH release induced by glutamate. Tanshinone IIA also attenuates glutamate-induced oxidative stress by reducing reactive oxygen species level and malondialdehyde and protein carbonyl contents and by enhancing activities and protein levels of superoxide dismutase and catalase. We then show that tanshinone IIA prevents glutamate-induced mitochondrial dysfunction by increasing mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP content and by reducing mitochondrial protein carbonyl content. Moreover, tanshinone IIA can inhibit glutamate-induced apoptosis through regulation of apoptosis-related protein expression and MAPK activation, including elevation of Bcl-2 protein level, decrease in Bax and cleaved caspase-3 levels, and suppression of JNK and p38 MAPK activation. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that tanshinone IIA protects SH-SY5Y cells against glutamate toxicity by reducing oxidative stress and regulating apoptosis and MAPK pathways.