Ashwaganda protects against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity

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Ashwaganda protects against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity

Postby NHE » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:59 am

Is anyone taking ashwagandha? If so, what has been your experience with it? Has it had a noticeable effect on any MS symptoms?

Water extract from the leaves of Withania somnifera protect RA differentiated C6 and IMR-32 cells against glutamate-induced excitotoxicity.
PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37080. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037080. Epub 2012 May 14.

    Glutamate neurotoxicity has been implicated in stroke, head trauma, multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative disorders. Search for herbal remedies that may possibly act as therapeutic agents is an active area of research to combat these diseases. The present study was designed to investigate the neuroprotective role of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), also known as Indian ginseng, against glutamate induced toxicity in the retinoic acid differentiated rat glioma (C6) and human neuroblastoma (IMR-32) cells. The neuroprotective activity of the Ashwagandha leaves derived water extract (ASH-WEX) was evaluated. Cell viability and the expression of glial and neuronal cell differentiation markers was examined in glutamate challenged differentiated cells with and without the presence of ASH-WEX. We demonstrate that RA-differentiated C6 and IMR-32 cells, when exposed to glutamate, undergo loss of neural network and cell death that was accompanied by increase in the stress protein HSP70. ASH-WEX pre-treatment inhibited glutamate-induced cell death and was able to revert glutamate-induced changes in HSP70 to a large extent. Furthermore, the analysis on the neuronal plasticity marker NCAM (Neural cell adhesion molecule) and its polysialylated form, PSA-NCAM revealed that ASH-WEX has therapeutic potential for prevention of neurodegeneration associated with glutamate-induced excitotoxicty.

The full paper is available.
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Re: Ashwaganda - A cautionary paper?

Postby NHE » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:32 am

Withaferin A alters intermediate filament organization, cell shape and behavior.
PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39065. Epub 2012 Jun 15

    Withaferin A (WFA) is a steroidal lactone present in Withania somnifera which has been shown in vitro to bind to the intermediate filament protein, vimentin. Based upon its affinity for vimentin, it has been proposed that WFA can be used as an anti-tumor agent to target metastatic cells which up-regulate vimentin expression. We show that WFA treatment of human fibroblasts rapidly reorganizes vimentin intermediate filaments (VIF) into a perinuclear aggregate. This reorganization is dose dependent and is accompanied by a change in cell shape, decreased motility and an increase in vimentin phosphorylation at serine-38. Furthermore, vimentin lacking cysteine-328, the proposed WFA binding site, remains sensitive to WFA demonstrating that this site is not required for its cellular effects. Using analytical ultracentrifugation, viscometry, electron microscopy and sedimentation assays we show that WFA has no effect on VIF assembly in vitro. Furthermore, WFA is not specific for vimentin as it disrupts the cellular organization and induces perinuclear aggregates of several other IF networks comprised of peripherin, neurofilament-triplet protein, and keratin. In cells co-expressing keratin IF and VIF, the former are significantly less sensitive to WFA with respect to inducing perinuclear aggregates. The organization of microtubules and actin/microfilaments is also affected by WFA. Microtubules become wavier and sparser and the number of stress fibers appears to increase. Following 24 hrs of exposure to doses of WFA that alter VIF organization and motility, cells undergo apoptosis. Lower doses of the drug do not kill cells but cause them to senesce. In light of our findings that WFA affects multiple IF systems, which are expressed in many tissues of the body, caution is warranted in its use as an anti-cancer agent, since it may have debilitating organism-wide effects.

The full paper is available.
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