Neurotoxicity Research

, Volume 13, Issue 3–4, pp 265–279 | Cite as

Quercetin, kaempferol and biapigenin fromhypericum perforatum are neuroprotective against excitotoxic insults

  • Bruno Silva
  • Paulo J. Oliveira
  • Alberto Dias
  • JOÃO O. MalvaEmail author


In the present study we investigated the effects of phenolic compounds present inHypericum perforatum against neuronal excitotoxicity and mitochondrial dysfunction. Quercetin, kaemp-ferol and biapigenin significantly reduced neuronal death caused by 100 μM kainate plus 100 μMN-methyl-D-aspartate. The observed neuroprotection was correlated with prevention of delayed calcium deregulation and with the maintenance of mitochondrial transmembrane electric potential. The three compounds were able to reduce mitochondrial lipid peroxidation and loss of mitochondrial transmembrane electric potential caused by oxidative stress induced by ADP plus iron. Moreover, biapigenin was also able to significantly affect mitochondrial bioenergetics and decrease the capacity of mitochondria to accumulate calcium. Taken together, the results suggest that the neuroprotective action induced by quercetin and kaempferol are mainly mediated by antioxidant effects, whereas biapigenin mainly affects mitochondrial bioenergetics and calcium uptake.


Hypericum perforatum Excitotoxicity Neuroprotection Mitochondrial dysfunction Calcium homeostasis 





bovine serum albumin


cyclosporin A


carbonyl cyanidep-(trifluoromethoxy) phenylhydrazone


kainic acid


microtubulle associated protein


Mitochondrial transmembrane potential




propidium iodide


reactive oxygen species


tetraphenylphosphonium cation


thiobarbituric acid-reactive species.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Silva
    • 1
    • 3
  • Paulo J. Oliveira
    • 1
  • Alberto Dias
    • 3
  • JOÃO O. Malva
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for Neuroscience and Cell BiologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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