Rhinacanthus nasutus extracts prevent glutamate and amyloid-β neurotoxicity in HT-22 mouse hippocampal cells: possible active compounds include lupeol, stigmasterol and β-sitosterol

Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(4):5074-5097. doi: 10.3390/ijms13045074. Epub 2012 Apr 23.


The Herb Rhinacanthus nasutus (L.) Kurz, which is native to Thailand and Southeast Asia, has become known for its antioxidant properties. Neuronal loss in a number of diseases including Alzheimer's disease is thought to result, in part, from oxidative stress. Glutamate causes cell death in the mouse hippocampal cell line, HT-22, by unbalancing redox homeostasis, brought about by a reduction in glutathione levels, and amyloid-β has been shown to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Here in, we show that ethanol extracts of R. nasutus leaf and root are capable of dose dependently attenuating the neuron cell death caused by both glutamate and amyloid-β treatment. We used free radical scavenging assays to measure the extracts antioxidant activities and as well as quantifying phenolic, flavonoid and sterol content. Molecules found in R. nasutus, lupeol, stigmasterol and β-sitosterol are protective against glutamate toxicity.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β; glutamate; herbal medicine; neuron degeneration; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acanthaceae / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Glutamic Acid / toxicity
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / prevention & control
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pentacyclic Triterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Sitosterols / pharmacology*
  • Stigmasterol / pharmacology*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Pentacyclic Triterpenes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sitosterols
  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-sitosterol
  • Stigmasterol
  • Glutathione
  • lupeol