Protective effects of tetramethylpyrazine on kainate induced excitotoxicity in hippocampal culture

Yang Hsin Shih, Se Ling Wu, Wen Fei Chiou, Hung Hai Ku, Tsui Ling Ko, Yu Show Fu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) is the major component extracted from the Chinese herb, Chuanxiong. This study focuses on the protective effect of tetramethylpyrazine in kainate-induced excitotoxicity in rat hippocampus. Primary neuronal cultures raised from cells isolated from the hippocampi of 7-day old rats were treated with kainate (75-450 μM) for 12, 24, and 48 h. Our results revealed that kainate induced neuronal damage in a dose- and time-dependent manner, reaching maximal damage at 150 μM and 24h and persisted for higher doses and 48h. In addition, 1 h of kainate (150 -M) treatment led to significant generation of free radicals and reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) which persisted for ≥ 4h on continued exposure. Ten minutes pretreatment with 1 or 5 μM tetramethylpyrazine dose dependently and significantly attenuated the kainate-induced damage. Taken together, the results suggest that multiple mechanisms including protection of mitochondria, decrease in free radical generation and scavenging of free radicals might be involved in TMPs protection against kainate induced cell toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-519
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2002


  • Exitotoxicity
  • Free radicals
  • Kainate
  • Mitochondria membrane potential
  • Tetramethylpyrazine


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