Aloperine (ALO), one of the alkaloids isolated from Sophora alopecuroides L., is traditionally used for various diseases including neuronal disorders. This study investigated the protective effects of ALO on neonatal rat primary-cultured hippocampal neurons injured by oxygen-glucose deprivation and reperfusion (OGD/RP). Treatment with ALO (25, 50, and 100 mg/l) attenuated neuronal damage (p < 0.01), with evidence of increased cell viability (p < 0.01) and decreased cell morphologic impairment. Furthermore, ALO increased mitochondrial membrane potential (p < 0.01), but inhibited intracellular-free calcium [Ca(2+)] i (p < 0.01) elevation in a dose-dependent manner at OGD/RP. ALO also reduced the intracellular reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde production and enhanced the antioxidant enzymatic activities of catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and the total antioxidant capacity. The results suggested that ALO has significant neuroprotective effects that can be attributed to anti-oxidative stress.
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