Journal of Natural Medicines

, Volume 72, Issue 4, pp 915–921 | Cite as

Hydroxyobtustyrene protects neuronal cells from chemical hypoxia-induced cell death

  • Takashi Iwai
  • Kengo Obara
  • Chihiro Ito
  • Hiroshi Furukawa
  • Jun-Ichiro Oka
Original Paper


Hydroxyobtustyrene is a derivative of cinnamyl phenol isolated from Dalbergia odorifera T. Chen. The heartwood, known as ‘JiangXiang’, is a traditional Chinese medicine. Previous studies showed that hydroxyobtustyrene inhibited the biosynthesis of prostaglandins, which are mediators of neuronal cell death in ischemia. However, it currently remains unclear whether hydroxyobtustyrene protects neurons against ischemic stress. In the present study, we investigated the protective effects of hydroxyobtustyrene against sodium cyanide (NaCN)-induced chemical ischemia. Hippocampal neurons were cultured from the cerebral cortices of E18 Wistar rats. The effects of hydroxyobtustyrene on neuronal survival and trophic effects were estimated under lower and higher cell density conditions. After the treatment of 1 mM NaCN with or without hydroxyobtustyrene, an MTT assay, Hoechst staining, and immunocytochemistry for cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 were performed. Hydroxyobtustyrene increased cell viability under lower, but not normal density conditions. Neither the neurite number nor the length was influenced by hydroxyobtustyrene. NaCN significantly decreased viability and increased fragmentation in cell nuclei, and these changes were prevented by hydroxyobtustyrene. Moreover, NaCN increased the number of COX-2-positive neurons, and this was significantly prevented by the co-treatment with hydroxyobtustyrene. Therefore, hydroxyobtustyrene protected cultured hippocampal neurons against NaCN-induced chemical ischemia, which may be mediated by the inhibition of COX-2 production.


Ischemia Cyclooxygenase Dalbergia odorifera Hippocampus Apoptosis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takashi Iwai
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kengo Obara
    • 1
  • Chihiro Ito
    • 4
  • Hiroshi Furukawa
    • 4
  • Jun-Ichiro Oka
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesTokyo University of ScienceNodaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Pharmacology, School of PharmacyKitasato UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Medicinal Research Laboratories, School of PharmacyKitasato UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of PharmacyMeijo UniversityNagoyaJapan

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