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Nutrients 2017, 9(2), 105; doi:10.3390/nu9020105

Lychee Seed Saponins Improve Cognitive Function and Prevent Neuronal Injury via Inhibiting Neuronal Apoptosis in a Rat Model of Alzheimer’s Disease

1
Laboratory of Chinese Materia Medica, Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou 646000, Sichuan, China
2
Department of Human Anatomy, School of Preclinical Medicine, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou 646000, Sichuan, China
3
Laboratory of Cancer Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou 646000, Sichuan, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 October 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
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Abstract

Lychee seed is a traditional Chinese medicine and possesses many activities, including hypoglycemia, liver protection, antioxidation, antivirus, and antitumor. However, its effect on neuroprotection is still unclear. The present study investigated the effects of lychee seed saponins (LSS) on neuroprotection and associated mechanisms. We established a rat model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by injecting Aβ25–35 into the lateral ventricle of rats and evaluated the effect of LSS on spatial learning and memory ability via the Morris water maze. Neuronal apoptosis was analyzed by hematoxylin and eosin stain and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (Tdt)-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling analysis, and mRNA expression of caspase-3 and protein expressions of Bax and Bcl-2 by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting, respectively. The results showed that LSS remarkably improved cognitive function and alleviated neuronal injury by inhibiting apoptosis in the hippocampus of AD rats. Furthermore, the mRNA expression of caspase-3 and the protein expression of Bax were downregulated, while the protein expression of Bcl-2 and the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax were increased by LSS. We demonstrate that LSS significantly improves cognitive function and prevent neuronal injury in the AD rats via regulation of the apoptosis pathway. Therefore, LSS may be developed as a nutritional supplement and sold as a drug for AD prevention and/or treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: lychee seed saponins; Alzheimer’s disease; rat model of Alzheimer’s disease; cognitive function; neuronal injury; apoptosis lychee seed saponins; Alzheimer’s disease; rat model of Alzheimer’s disease; cognitive function; neuronal injury; apoptosis
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Wang, X.; Wu, J.; Yu, C.; Tang, Y.; Liu, J.; Chen, H.; Jin, B.; Mei, Q.; Cao, S.; Qin, D. Lychee Seed Saponins Improve Cognitive Function and Prevent Neuronal Injury via Inhibiting Neuronal Apoptosis in a Rat Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutrients 2017, 9, 105.

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