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.