The protective effects of Acanthopanax senticosus Harms aqueous extracts against oxidative stress: role of Nrf2 and antioxidant enzymes

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Feb 3;127(2):424-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.10.022. Epub 2009 Oct 24.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Acanthopanax senticosus ( Maxim.) Harms, classified into the family of Araliaceae, is used in a variety of diseases in traditional Chinese system of medicine including hypertension, ischemic heart disease and hepatitis.

Materials and methods: Different doses (75 mg/kg, 150 mg/kg and 300 mg/kg) of aqueous extracts of Acanthopanax senticosus Harms were evaluated for the antioxidant activity against oxidative stress in mice induced by tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BHP) through observating histopathology of the liver and detecting antioxidant enzyme activity, concentration of antioxidant, and related gene and protein expression.

Results: Acanthopanax senticosus Harms aqueous extracts (ASE) attenuated the morphological injury of liver induced by t-BHP and increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes and the ratio of GSH/GSSG in serum and liver homogenates. Medium and high doses of ASE also elevated the gene expression of NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2), but not CuZnSOD, MnSOD, catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and GCLC. Protein expression results showed that Nrf2 and the antioxidant enzymes were all increased significantly by medium and high doses of ASE.

Conclusion: The present results indicated that ASE protect against oxidative stress which may be generated via the induction of Nrf2 and related antioxidant enzymes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / isolation & purification
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Eleutherococcus*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Protective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1


  • Antioxidants
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Nfe2l2 protein, mouse
  • Protective Agents
  • Sod1 protein, mouse
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1
  • Glutathione