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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) on staurosporine-induced neuronal death and caspase activity in cortical cultured neurons.

Previous studies suggest the protective potentiality of Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) against apoptotic cell death induced by hydroxyl radicals, staurosporine, serum deprivation and beta-amyloid (betaA) peptide. We have extended these observations to cultured cortical neurons and studied the effect of EGb 761 on neuronal survival (evaluated as MTT reduction), the presence of condensed nuclei (monitored as Hoechst staining), the time-course of caspase-1, caspase-3 and caspase-9 activation (measured by cleavage of specific fluorescent substrates) and superoxide anion production (evaluated by hydroethidine staining) after the exposure to staurosporine. Results show that 200 microg/ml of EGb 761 increased cell survival and reduced the number of condensed nuclei after the exposure to 200 nM staurosporine. Vitamin E and the spin trapper alpha-phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone (PBN) also significantly increased cell survival. In contrast, the broad-spectrum caspase inhibitors ZVAD and ZBIOT showed no protection. Similarly, selective inhibitors of caspase-1 (YVAD-CHO), caspase-2 (VDVAD-CHO), caspase-3 (DEVD-CHO) and caspase-8 (IETD-CHO) did not protect against cell damage induced by staurosporine. The protective effect of EGb 761 was not enhanced when coincubated with vitamin E or DEVD-CHO. Caspase-3 activity was maximally induced 5-8 h after staurosporine exposure. Both EGb 761 and vitamin E showed a tendency to decrease caspase-3 activity. In contrast, activation of caspase-1 and caspase-9 was not observed at any of the times studied after STS exposure. Exposure to staurosporine resulted in increased superoxide production that was maximal at 5 h. EGb 761 significantly inhibited superoxide production at short times after staurosporine exposure. Vitamin E and PBN also significantly reduced superoxide production. Results suggest that EGb 761 neuroprotective effect might be mediated by its well-known antioxidant activity, which might also influence caspase-3 activation. Inhibition of capase-3 induced by EGb 761 and vitamin E does not seem to contribute to their observed protective action.[1]


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