Taraxacum coreanum protects against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity through heme oxygenase-1 expression in mouse hippocampal HT22 cells

Mol Med Rep. 2017 Apr;15(4):2347-2352. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.6237. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Taraxacum coreanum Nakai is a dandelion that is native to Korea, and is widely used as an edible and medicinal herb. The present study revealed the neuroprotective effect of this plant against glutamate-induced oxidative stress in HT22 murine hippocampal neuronal cells. Ethanolic extracts from the aerial (TCAE) and the root parts (TCRE) of T. coreanum were prepared. Both extracts were demonstrated, by high performance liquid chromatography, to contain caffeic acid and ferulic acid as representative constituents. TCAE and TCRE significantly increased cell viability against glutamate-induced oxidative stress in mouse hippocampal HT22 cells. Western blot analysis revealed that treatment of HT22 cells with the extracts induced increased expression of the enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), compared with untreated cells, in a concentration-dependent manner. Increased HO-1 enzymatic activity, compared with untreated cells, was also demonstrated following treatment with TCAE and TCRE. In addition, western blot analysis of the nuclear fractions of both TCAE and TCRE-treated HT22 cells revealed increased levels of nuclear factor erythroid 2 like 2 (Nrf2) compared with untreated cells, and decreased Nrf2 levels in the cytoplasmic fraction compared with untreated cells. The present study suggested that the neuroprotective effect of T. coreanum is associated with induction of HO-1 expression and Nrf2 translocation to the nucleus. Therefore, T. coreanum exhibits a promising function in prevention of neurodegeneration. Further studies will be required for the isolation and the full characterization of its active substances.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / analysis
  • Heme Oxygenase-1 / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Taraxacum / chemistry*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Heme Oxygenase-1