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Treatment with a herbal formula B401 enhances neuroprotection and angiogenesis in the R6/2 mouse model of Huntington’s disease

Authors Wang S, Lin C, Hsu C, Sheu S, Chien C, Wu C

Received 23 November 2014

Accepted for publication 6 January 2015

Published 16 February 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 887—900


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou

Video abstract presented by Sheue-Er Wang

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Sheue-Er Wang,1 Ching-Lung Lin,1 Chih-Hsiang Hsu,1 Shuenn-Jyi Sheu,2 Chiang-Ting Chien,1 Chung-Hsin Wu1

1Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, 2Brion Research Institute of Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan

Abstract: Huntington’s disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor dysfunction and early death. Despite years of research, the mechanisms responsible for chronic neurodegeneration of HD remain elusive. Chinese traditional medicines might provide new insights or new therapy for HD. The Chinese herbal formula B401 is a well-known Taiwan–US patent formula and a health supplement for promoting blood circulation and enhancing brain function. This study aimed to elucidate the neuroprotective effects of the Chinese herbal formula B401 on the syndrome of HD. Then, we compared the life span and body weight of R6/2 HD mice with and without oral B401 treatment. The ameliorative effects of B401 on the symptom of HD mice were investigated through behavior tests. Expressions of proteins for neuroprotection, angiogenesis, and inflammation in the brain tissue of R6/2 HD mice were compared by using immunostaining and Western blotting techniques. Our study in vitro showed that viabilities of glutamate-treated SH-SY5Y cells were significantly increased under B401 treatment. Our results in vivo showed that duration of survival was increased, body weight loss was reduced, and motor ability was improved in R6/2 HD mice under oral B401 treatment. Subcutaneous microcirculation was enhanced in 3-month R6/2 HD mice under intraperitoneal B401 injections as observed by using moorFLPI laser Doppler imager. Atrophy of cerebrum, midbrain, and cerebellum in 3-month R6/2 HD mice under oral B401 treatment was alleviated as observed by utilizing magnetic resonance imaging. Evidence from immunostaining and Western blotting analysis showed that expressions of mutant huntingtin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were reduced, while expressions of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and vascular endothelial growth factor were enhanced in the brain tissue of 2-month R6/2 HD mice under oral B401 treatment. We suggest that the herbal formula B401 can be developed as a medical supplement for ameliorating neurodegenerative diseases of HD via reducing mutant huntingtin aggregation and excitotoxicity, enhancing neuroprotection and angiogenesis, and alleviating inflammation in the brain.

Keywords: Huntington’s disease, traditional Chinese medicine, neuroprotection, excitotoxicity, angiogenesis, inflammation, R6/2 mouse model

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