The protective effects of Achyranthes bidentata polypeptides against NMDA-induced cell apoptosis in cultured hippocampal neurons through differential modulation of NR2A- and NR2B-containing NMDA receptors

Brain Res Bull. 2008 Nov 25;77(5):274-81. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2008.08.002. Epub 2008 Aug 31.


Achyranthes bidentata Blume is a commonly prescribed Chinese medicinal herb with a variety of pharmaceutical properties. From its aqueous extract we have separated important constituents, referred to as A. bidentata polypeptides (ABPP). In this study, the neuroprotective effect of ABPP against N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-induced cell apoptosis was investigated in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. The results of MTT assay, Hoechst/PI double staining and DNA ladder detection indicated that ABPP significantly attenuated, in a concentration-dependent manner, apoptotic cell damage induced by exposure of cultured hippocampal neurons to NMDA (100 μM) for 30 min. The intracellular calcium measurement with fluo-3/AM revealed that ABPP antagonized the excess intracellular calcium triggered by NMDA. Furthermore, in addition to inhibiting the action of NR2B-containing NMDA receptors, ABPP can enhance the function of NR2A-containing NMDA receptors. Our data might suggest that ABPP may also prove to be a potential neuroprotective therapy owing to its differential modulation of NR2A- and NR2B-containing NMDA receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achyranthes / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • N-Methylaspartate* / metabolism
  • N-Methylaspartate* / pharmacology
  • Neurons* / cytology
  • Neurons* / drug effects
  • Neurons* / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • NR2A NMDA receptor
  • NR2B NMDA receptor
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Peptides
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Calcium