Mitochondrial protection and anti-aging activity of Astragalus polysaccharides and their potential mechanism

Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(2):1747-1761. doi: 10.3390/ijms13021747. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


The current study was performed to investigate mitochondrial protection and anti-aging activity of Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) and the potential underlying mechanism. Lipid peroxidation of liver and brain mitochondria was induced by Fe(2+)-Vit C in vitro. Thiobarbituric acid (TBA) colorimetry was used to measure the content of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Mouse liver mitochondrial permeability transition (PT) was induced by calcium overload in vitro and spectrophotometry was used to measure it. The scavenging activities of APS on superoxide anion (O(2) (•-)) and hydroxyl radical (•OH), which were produced by reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)-N-Methylphenazonium methyl sulfate (PMS) and hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2))-Fe(2+) system respectively, were measured by 4-nitrobluetetrazolium chloride (NBT) reduction and Fenton reaction colorimetry respectively. The Na(2)S(2)O(3) titration method was used to measure the scavenging activities of APS on H(2)O(2). APS could inhibit TBARS production, protect mitochondria from PT, and scavenge O(2) (•-), •OH and H(2)O(2) significantly in a concentration-dependent manner respectively. The back of the neck of mice was injected subcutaneously with D-galactose to induce aging at a dose of 100 mg/kg/d for seven weeks. Moreover, the activities of catalase (CAT), surperoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and anti-hydroxyl radical which were assayed by using commercial monitoring kits were increased significantly in vivo by APS. According to this research, APS protects mitochondria by scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS), inhibiting mitochondrial PT and increasing the activities of antioxidases. Therefore, APS has the effect of promoting health.

Keywords: Astragalus polysaccharides; anti-aging; antioxidant; mitochondria; mitochondrial permeability transition; reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astragalus Plant / chemistry*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects*
  • Cytoprotection / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / drug effects
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Plant Preparations
  • Polysaccharides
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances