, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 121-128
Date: 03 Aug 2011

Ginsenoside Rd Protects Neurons Against Glutamate-Induced Excitotoxicity by Inhibiting Ca2+ Influx

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Abstract

Our previous studies have demonstrated that ginsenoside Rd (GSRd), one of the principal ingredients of Pana notoginseng, has neuroprotective effects against ischemic stroke. However, the possible mechanism(s) underlying the neuroprotection of GSRd is/are still largely unknown. In this study, we treated glutamate-injured cultured rat hippocampal neurons with different concentrations of GSRd, and then examined the changes in neuronal apoptosis and intracellular free Ca2+ concentration. Our MTT assay showed that GSRd significantly increased the survival of neurons injured by glutamate in a dose-dependent manner. Consistently, TUNEL and Caspase-3 staining showed that GSRd attenuated glutamate-induced cell death. Furthermore, calcium imaging assay revealed that GSRd significantly attenuated the glutamate-induced increase of intracellular free Ca2+ and also inhibited NMDA-triggered Ca2+ influx. Thus, the present study demonstrates that GSRd protects the cultured hippocampal neurons against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity, and that this neuroprotective effect may result from the inhibitory effects of GSRd on Ca2+ influx.

Chen Zhang and Fang Du contributed equally to this study.