Angelica sinensis extract protects against ischemia-reperfusion injury in the hippocampus by activating p38 MAPK-mediated p90RSK/p-Bad and p90RSK/CREB/BDNF signaling after transient global cerebral ischemia in rats

Chin Yi Cheng, Shung Te Kao, Yu Chen Lee

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Ethnopharmacological relevance: Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels, commonly known as Dang Gui (DG), is one of the most popular traditional Chinese herbal medicines for the treatment of stroke. However, the effects of DG on transient global cerebral ischemia (GCI) and its precise mechanisms remain unclear. Aim of the study: This study aimed to investigate the effects of the DG extract on ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury in the hippocampus 7 d after transient GCI and to identify the potential mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-related signaling pathway in the hippocampus involved in the effects. Materials and methods: Rats were intragastrically administered DG at doses of 0.25 g/kg (DG-0.25g), 0.5 g/kg (DG-0.5g), or 1 g/kg (DG-1g) 1, 3, and 5 d after GCI. Results: DG-0.5g and DG-1g treatments effectively promoted hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) neuronal survival. DG-0.5g and DG-1g treatments markedly increased phospho-p38 MAPK (p-p38 MAPK), phospho-90-kDa ribosomal S6 kinase (p-p90RSK), cytosolic and mitochondrial phospho-Bad (p-Bad), phospho-cAMP response element-binding protein (p-CREB), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and p-CREB/BDNF expression; decreased 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, cytochrome c (Cytc), and cleaved caspase-3 expression, and inhibited apoptosis in the hippocampal CA1 region. Pretreatment with a specific inhibitor of p38 MAPK, SB203580, completely blocked the effects of DG-1g on the expression of the aforementioned proteins. Conclusions: DG-0.5g and DG-1g treatments exerted neuroprotective effects on I/R injury by activating p38 MAPK-mediated p90RSK/p-Bad-induced anti-apoptotic-Cytc/caspase-3-related and p90RSK/CREB/BDNF survival signaling in the hippocampus 7 d after transient GCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112612
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 24 2020



  • 90-kDa ribosomal S6 kinase
  • Angelica sinensis
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Global cerebral ischemia
  • p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • Phospho-Bad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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