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Papers of the Week

2020 Mar

Biomed Pharmacother


Oleanolic acid inhibits mouse spinal cord injury through suppressing inflammation and apoptosis via the blockage of p38 and JNK MAPKs.



Spinal cord injury (SCI) is reported as a devastating disease, leading to tissue loss and neurologic dysfunction. However, there is no effective therapeutic strategy for SCI treatment. Oleanolic acid (OA), as a triterpenoid, has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic activities. However, its regulatory effects on SCI have little to be elucidated, as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms. In this study, we attempted to explore the role of OA in SCI progression. Behavior tests suggested that OA treatments markedly alleviated motor function in SCI mice. Evans blue contents up-regulated in spinal cords of SCI mice were significantly reduced by OA in a dose-dependent manner, demonstrating the improved blood-spinal cord barrier. Moreover, we found that OA treatments significantly reduced the apoptotic cell death in spinal cord samples of SCI mice through decreasing the expression of cleaved Caspase-3. In addition, pro-inflammatory response in SCI mice was significantly attenuated by OA treatments. Furthermore, SCI mice exhibited higher activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathways, but these effects were clearly blocked in SCI mice with OA treatments, as evidenced by the down-regulated phosphorylation of p38, c-Jun-NH 2 terminal kinase (JNK), IκB kinase α (IKKα), inhibitor of nuclear factor κB-α (IκBα) and NF-κB. The protective effects of OA against SCI were confirmed in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated mouse neurons mainly through the suppression of apoptosis and inflammatory response, which were tightly associated with the blockage of p38 and JNK activation. Together, our data demonstrated that OA treatments could dose-dependently ameliorate spinal cord damage through impeding p38- and JNK-regulated apoptosis and inflammation, and therefore OA might be served as an effective therapeutic agent for SCI treatment.