Effects of Cymbopogon citratus and Ferula assa-foetida extracts on glutamate-induced neurotoxicity

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2013 Oct;49(9):706-15. doi: 10.1007/s11626-013-9656-7. Epub 2013 Aug 16.


Many of CNS diseases can lead to a great quantity of release of glutamate and the extreme glutamate induces neuronal cell damage and death. Here, we wanted to investigate the effects of Cymbopogon citratus essential oil and Ferula assa-foetida extracts treatment on glutamate-induced cell damage in a primary culture of rat cerebellar granule neurons. Cerebellums were collected from 7-d rat brains and cerebellar granule neurons were obtained after 8-d culture. CGN cells were treated with C. citratus essential oil and F. assa-foetida extracts at concentration of 100 μg/ml before, after, and during exposure to 30 μM glutamate. The cellular viability was evaluated by 3-(4, 5-dimethytthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazoliumbromide (MTT) staining. The flow cytometry assay was used to examine cell cycle and apoptosis. MTT assay showed a glutamate-induced reduction in cellular viability while treatment with C. citratus essential oil and F. assa-foetida extracts before, during, and after exposure to glutamate was increased. Flow cytometric analysis indicated that F. assa-foetida extracts treatment significantly (p < 0.001) attenuated glutamate-induced apoptotic/necrotic cell death and the necrotic rate was decreased by C. citratus essential oil treatment compared to glutamate group, significantly (p < 0.001). The results show that C. citratus essential oil and F. assa-foetida extracts display neuroprotective effects in glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. These extracts exert antiapoptotic activity in cerebellar granule neurons due to cell cycle arrest in G0G1 phase, which explain the beneficial effects of C. citratus essential oil and F. assa-foetida extracts as therapies for neurologic disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / drug effects*
  • Cymbopogon / chemistry
  • Ferula / chemistry
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / pathology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Rats


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils
  • Glutamic Acid