Glioprotective effects of Ashwagandha leaf extract against lead induced toxicity

Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:182029. doi: 10.1155/2014/182029. Epub 2014 May 28.


Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), also known as Indian Ginseng, is a well-known Indian medicinal plant due to its antioxidative, antistress, antigenotoxic, and immunomodulatory properties. The present study was designed to assess and establish the cytoprotective potential of Ashwagandha leaf aqueous extract against lead induced toxicity. Pretreatment of C6 cells with 0.1% Ashwagandha extract showed cytoprotection against 25 μM to 400 μM concentration of lead nitrate. Further pretreatment with Ashwagandha extract to lead nitrate exposed cells (200 μM) resulted in normalization of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression as well as heat shock protein (HSP70), mortalin, and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) expression. Further, the cytoprotective efficacy of Ashwagandha extract was studied in vivo. Administration of Ashwagandha extract provided significant protection to lead induced altered antioxidant defense that may significantly compromise normal cellular function. Ashwagandha also provided a significant protection to lipid peroxidation (LPx) levels, catalase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) but not reduced glutathione (GSH) contents in brain tissue as well as peripheral organs, liver and kidney, suggesting its ability to act as a free radical scavenger protecting cells against toxic insult. These results, thus, suggest that Ashwagandha water extract may have the potential therapeutic implication against lead poisoning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / biosynthesis
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Lead / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / biosynthesis
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Nitrates / toxicity*
  • Oxidoreductases / biosynthesis
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Nitrates
  • Plant Extracts
  • mortalin
  • Lead
  • lead nitrate
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Glutathione
  • Ashwagandha