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Piperine-like alkamides from Piper nigrum induce BDNF promoter and promote neurite outgrowth in Neuro-2a cells


Black pepper (Piper nigrum) contains a variety of alkamides. Among them, piperine has been reported to have antidepressant-like effects in chronically stressed mice, but little is known about the biological activity of other alkamides. In this study, we investigated the effects of alkamides from white pepper (P. nigrum) on neuronal cells. Twelve alkamides were isolated from white pepper MeOH extracts, and their chemical structures were identified by NMR and MS analyses. The compounds were subjected to assays using the luciferase-reporter gene under the control of the BDNF promoter or cAMP response element in mouse neuroblastoma Neuro-2a cells. In both assays, marked reporter-inducing activity was observed for piperine (1), piperettine (2) and piperylin (7), all of which have in common an (E)-5-(buta-1,3-dien-1-yl)benzo[d] [1, 3] dioxole moiety. Piperettine (2) and piperylin (7) tended to increase endogenous BDNF protein levels. Furthermore, piperylin (7) promoted retinoic acid-induced neurite outgrowth. These results suggest that piperylin (7), or analogues thereof, may have a beneficial effect on disorders associated with dysregulation of BDNF expression, such as depression.

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This work was supported in part by the Platform for Drug Discovery, Informatics, and Structural Life Science from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan, and by the MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities.

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Correspondence to Young Sook Yun.

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Yun, Y.S., Noda, S., Takahashi, S. et al. Piperine-like alkamides from Piper nigrum induce BDNF promoter and promote neurite outgrowth in Neuro-2a cells. J Nat Med 72, 238–245 (2018).

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  • Piper nigrum
  • Alkamides
  • BDNF
  • Neurite outgrowth