2018 Volume 41 Issue 4 Pages 470-477
The Nardostachys jatamansi DC (NJ) root has been used as a sedative or analgesic to treat neurological symptoms and pain in traditional Korean medicine. Here, we investigate the potential effects of NJ on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and reveal the molecular mechanism through which NJ exerts its effects. The neuroprotective effect of the NJ root ethanol extract against β amyloid (Aβ) toxicity was examined in vitro using a cell culture system and in vivo using a Drosophila AD model. The NJ extract and chlorogenic acid, a major component of NJ, inhibited Aβ-induced cell death in SH-SY5Y cells. Moreover, the NJ extract rescued the neurological phenotypes of the Aβ42-expressing flies (decreased survival and pupariation rate and a locomotor defect) and suppressed Aβ42-induced cell death in the brain. We also found that NJ extract intake reduced glial cell number, reactive oxygen species level, extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation, and nitric oxide level in Aβ42-expressing flies, without affecting Aβ accumulation. These data suggest that the neuroprotective activity of NJ might be associated with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its inhibitory action against ERK signaling; thus, NJ is a promising medicinal plant for the development of AD treatment.