Neuroprotective Effects of Sesamum indicum, Sesamin and Sesamolin Against 6-OHDA-induced Apoptosis in PC12 Cells

Recent Adv Food Nutr Agric. 2023;14(2):126-133. doi: 10.2174/2772574X14666230804151124.


Background: Sesamum indicum L. (sesame) is one of the most widely used herbs in the world. Sesame oil contains lignans such as sesamin and sesamolin, which are known to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-apoptotic properties. Parkinson's disease (PD) is recognized as the most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease; however, the exact molecular mechanism of the progression of neural death is not clear yet. In this study, the effect of sesame seed extracts and their main bioactive components (sesamin and sesamolin) on in vitro model of Parkinson's disease has been compared.

Methods: Cell viability, the number of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and apoptosis were determined using resazurin assay, ROS assay, propidium iodide (PI) staining and flow cytometry, and western blot analysis.

Results: 6-OHDA caused cellular death and apoptosis but pretreatment with sesame seed extracts, sesamin, and sesamolin significantly increased cell viability (p<0.001) and decreased ROS (p<0.001) and apoptosis. ERK1/2 is activated by 6-OHDA in PC12 cells, and the level of survivin decreased. Pretreatment with sesame significantly reversed the entire cell death induced by 6- OHDA. Sesame seed extracts at 5 and 10 μg/ml, sesamin and sesamolin at 5 and 10 μM increased surviving (p<0.01), and reduced P-ERK1/2/ERK1/2 (p<0.05) levels close to the control values.

Conclusions: Overall, compounds in sesame seed extract and sesamin may assist as adjuvant therapeutics in PD. It seems sesame seeds have more potent protection effects against neural death compared with individual components, which might reflect the synergism among different phytochemicals present in the extract.

Keywords: 6-OHDA; Sesamum indicum; PC-12 cells; Parkinson’s disease; Pedaliaceae; sesamin; sesamolin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Lignans* / pharmacology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases*
  • Neuroprotective Agents* / pharmacology
  • Oxidopamine / toxicity
  • PC12 Cells
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sesamum* / chemistry


  • sesamin
  • sesamolin
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Oxidopamine
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Lignans
  • Plant Extracts