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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7984327, 13 pages
Research Article

The Neuroprotective Effects of Brazilian Green Propolis on Neurodegenerative Damage in Human Neuronal SH-SY5Y Cells

1Department of Aging Science and Pharmacology, Faculty of Dental Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
2OBT Research Center, Faculty of Dental Science, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan
3Institute of Geriatrics, Qinghai Provincial Hospital, Xining 810007, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Zhou Wu

Received 4 July 2016; Revised 19 December 2016; Accepted 28 December 2016; Published 6 February 2017

Academic Editor: Byoung-Joon Song

Copyright © 2017 Junjun Ni 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.


Oxidative stress and synapse dysfunction are the major neurodegenerative damage correlated to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We have found that Brazilian green propolis (propolis) improves the cognitive functions of mild cognitive impairment patients living at high altitude; however, mechanism underlying the effects of propolis is unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of propolis on oxidative stress, expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc), the critical factors of synapse efficacy, using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Pretreatment with propolis significantly ameliorated the hydrogen peroxide- (H2O2-) induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, propolis significantly reduced the H2O2-generated reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from mitochondria and 8-oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG, the DNA oxidative damage marker) but significantly reversed the fibrillar β-amyloid and IL-1β-impaired BDNF-induced Arc expression in SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, propolis significantly upregulated BDNF mRNA expression in time- and dose-dependent manners. In addition, propolis induced Arc mRNA and protein expression via phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K). These observations strongly suggest that propolis protects from the neurodegenerative damage in neurons through the properties of various antioxidants. The present study provides a potential molecular mechanism of Brazilian green propolis in prevention of cognitive impairment in AD as well as aging.