The neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) has been widely used to generate an experimental model of Parkinson's disease. This model is crucial in the search for compounds that diminish 6-OHDA-induced nerve growth factor (NGF)-differentiated PC12 cell death. Nephrocizin (luteolin-7-O-β-d- glucopyranoside), a flavone glycoside, was isolated from widely distributed plants. The protective effects of pre-treatment with nephrocizin on the induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells by 6-OHDA and its oxidative products, H 2O2 and p-quinone, were evaluated herein. Nephrocizin promoted cell viability, scavenged ROS-related products, increased cellular glutathione (GSH) levels, and reduced caspase-3 and -8 activities in 6-OHDA-, H2O2-, or p-quinone-treated PC12 cells. Furthermore, nephrocizin-conjugated metabolites in PC12 cells were identified with the boronate-affinity method and LC-MS technology, and preferential regioselectivity at the C2′ and C5′ positions by the nephrocizin-GSH (or NAC) adduct method was observed. These lines of evidence established that nephrocizin could form a dimer to diminish the intracellular ROS. These results demonstrate the first neuroprotective mechanism of nephrocizin against 6-OHDA-, H 2O2- or p-quinone-induced cytotoxicity in PC12 cells via chemical and biological studies. These dietary antioxidants are potential candidates for use in intervention in neurodegenerative diseases.
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