Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) attenuates antioxidant defense in aged spinal cord and inhibits copper induced lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative modifications

Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2003;19(3):211-22. doi: 10.1515/dmdi.2003.19.3.211.


Withania somnifera is classified in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, as a rasayana, a group of plant-derived drugs which promote physical and mental health, augment resistance of the body against disease and diverse adverse environmental factors, revitalize the body in debilitated conditions and increase longevity. We investigated the effects of Withania somnifera on copper-induced lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymes in aging spinal cord of Wistar rats. The activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) decreased significantly in the spinal cord from adult to aged mice. Treatment with Withania somnifera successfully attenuated GPx activity and inhibited lipid peroxidation in a dose dependent manner. Withania somnifera inhibited both the lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative modification induced by copper. These effects were similar to those of superoxide dismutase and mannitol. The results indicate the therapeutic potential of Withania somnifera in aging and copper-induced pathophysiological conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Copper / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / enzymology
  • Withania*


  • Antioxidants
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Copper
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Ashwagandha