Effects of triptolide on degeneration of dendritic spines induced by Aβ1-40 injection in rat hippocampus

Neurol Sci. 2014 Jan;35(1):35-40. doi: 10.1007/s10072-013-1463-0. Epub 2013 May 29.


Although the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains elusive, mounting evidence continues to support the involvement of neuroinflammation in the development of AD. Triptolide isolated from the herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F has anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities. In this study, we observed the effects of triptolide on dendritic spines of hippocampal neurons in model rats with AD. Thirty male SD rats were randomly divided into control group, AD model group and triptolide-treated group. The AD model group was made with bilateral microinjection of aggregated beta-amyloid protein (Aβ)1-40 into hippocampus in rats and the control group rats were injected with normal saline in the same way. The triptolide-treated group rats were administered triptolide intraperitoneally for 30 days after microinjection of aggregated Aβ1-40 into hippocampus. Dendritic morphology of hippocampal neurons in each group was analyzed using Golgi staining and ImageJ software. Our data showed that the total number of intersection points of dendrites and spine density in hippocampal neurons in the AD model group were decreased as compared with the control group. However, the total number of intersection points of dendrites and spine density in hippocampal neurons in the triptolide-treated group were increased as compared with the AD model group. Our results indicate that triptolide can alleviate the degeneration of dendritic spines in hippocampal neurons in model rats with AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Dendritic Spines / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Epoxy Compounds / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Peptide Fragments / toxicity
  • Phenanthrenes / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Diterpenes
  • Epoxy Compounds
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Phenanthrenes
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-40)
  • triptolide