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Involvement of the ERK pathway in the protective effects of glycyrrhizic acid against the MPP+-induced apoptosis of dopaminergic neuronal cells

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Glycyrrhizic acid (GA), a major compound separated from Radix Glycyrrhizae, has been shwon to exert various biochemical effects, including neuroprotective effects. In the present study, we investigated the protective effects of GA against 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+)induced damage to differentiated PC12 (DPC12) cells. Compared with the MPP+-treated cells, GA markedly improved cell viability, restored mitochondrial dysfunction, suppressed the overexpression of cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and suppressed the overproduction of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and intracellular Ca2+ overload. The protective effects of GA on cell survival were further confirmed in primary cortical neurons. GA markedly increased the expression of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK), as well as its migration from the cytoplasm to nucleus. PD98059, an inhibitor of ERK, blocked GA-enhanced ERK activation and reduced cell viability. However, pre-treatment with GA had no effects on the expression of phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT) and total AKT (t-AKT). These results indicate that the GA-mediated neuroprotective effects are associated with its modulation of multiple anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic factors, particularly the ERK signaling pathway. This study provides evidence supporting the use of GA as a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and neuronal injury.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Life Science, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130012, P.R. China 2: College of Clinical Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130012, P.R. China 3: College of Electronic Science and Engineering, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin 130012, P.R. China

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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