Neuroprotective effect of honokiol and magnolol, compounds from Magnolia officinalis, on beta-amyloid-induced toxicity in PC12 cells

Phytother Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):1538-42. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3178.


Amyloid β peptide (Aβ) induced toxicity is a well-established pathway of neuronal cell death which might play a role in Alzheimer's disease. In this regard, the toxic effect of Aβ on a cultured Aβ-sensitive neuronal cell line was used as a primary screening tool for potential anti-Alzheimer's therapeutic agents. The effects of nine pure compounds (vitamin E, α-asarone, salidroside, baicolin, magnolol, gastrodin, bilobalide, honokiol and β-asarone) from selected Chinese herbs on neuronal cell death induced by Aβ in NGF-differentiated PC12 cells were examined. Only two of the studied compounds, honokiol and magnolol, significantly decreased Aβ-induced cell death. Further experiments indicated that their neuroprotective effects are possibly mediated through reduced ROS production as well as suppression of intracellular calcium elevation and inhibition of caspase-3 activity. The results provide for the first time a scientific rationale for the clinical use of honokiol and magnolol in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Biphenyl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Survival
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Lignans / pharmacology*
  • Magnolia / chemistry*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • PC12 Cells
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Lignans
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • magnolol
  • honokiol
  • Casp3 protein, rat
  • Caspase 3
  • Calcium