Vitexin protects brain against ischemia/reperfusion injury via modulating mitogen-activated protein kinase and apoptosis signaling in mice.Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar 15; 22(3):379-84.P
Vitexin is a major bioactive flavonoid compound derived from the dried leaf of hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida), a widely used conventional folk medicine in China. Recent studies have shown that vitexin presents neuroprotective effects in vitro. Whether this protective effect applies to the cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury remains elusive. In the present study, we examined the potential neuroprotective effect of vitexin against cerebral I/R injury and underlying mechanisms. A focal cerebral I/R model in male Kunming mice was induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 2 h followed by reperfusion for 22 h. The neurological function and infarct volume were assessed by using Long's five-point scale system and triphenyl-tetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining technique, respectively. Neuronal damage was evaluated by histological staining. Extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and p38 phosphorylation, and apoptosis were measured via Western blot at 24 h after reperfusion. As a result, systemic vitexin treatment significantly reduced neurological deficit, cerebral infarct volume and neuronal damage when compared with the I/R group. Western blot analyses revealed that vitexin markedly upregulated p-ERK1/2 and downregulated p-JNK and p-p38. Meanwhile, vitexin increased Bcl-2 expression and suppressed the overexpression of Bax in the I/R injury mice. In conclusion, the results indicate that vitexin protects brain against cerebral I/R injury, and this effect may be regulated by mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and apoptosis signaling pathways.