Sarsasapogenin ameliorates diabetes-associated memory impairment and neuroinflammation through down-regulation of PAR-1 receptor.Phytother Res. 2021 Jun; 35(6):3167-3180.PR
Sarsasapogenin (Sar), a natural steroidal compound, shows neuroprotection, cognition-enhancement, antiinflammation, antithrombosis effects, and so on. However, whether Sar has ameliorative effects on diabetes-associated cognitive impairment remains unknown. In this study, we found that Sar ameliorated diabetes-associated memory impairment in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, evidenced by increased numbers of crossing platform and percentage of time spent in the target quadrant in Morris water maze tests, and suppressed the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing protein 1 (NLRP1) inflammasome in hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Furthermore, Sar inhibited advanced glycation end-products and its receptor (AGEs/RAGE) axis and suppressed up-regulation of thrombin receptor protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR-1) in cerebral cortex. On the other hand, Sar mitigated high glucose-induced neuronal damages, NLRP1 inflammasome activation, and PAR-1 up-regulation in high glucose-cultured SH-SY5Y cells, but did not affect thrombin activity. Moreover, the effects of Sar were similar to those of a selective PAR-1 antagonist vorapaxar. Further studies indicated that activation of the NLRP1 inflammasome and NF-κB mediated the effect of PAR-1 up-regulation in high glucose condition by using PAR-1 knockdown assay. In summary, this study demonstrated that Sar prevented memory impairment caused by diabetes, which was achieved through suppressing neuroinflammation from activated NLRP1 inflammasome and NF-κB regulated by cerebral PAR-1. HIGHLIGHTS: Sarsasapogenin ameliorated memory impairment caused by diabetes in rats. Sarsasapogenin mitigated neuronal damages and neuroinflammation by down-regulating cerebral PAR-1. The NLRP1 inflammasome and NF-κB signaling mediated the pro-inflammatory effects of PAR-1. Sarsasapogenin was a pleiotropic neuroprotective agent and memory enhancer in diabetic rodents.