Echinacoside (from cistanche) attenuates kainic acid induced excitotoxicity in rat model

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Echinacoside is a major compound of Cistanche Herb and has glutamate release-inhibiting activity in the brain. Given the involvement of excitotoxicity caused by massive glutamate in the pathophysiology of epilepsy, we explored the antiepileptic effect of echinacoside on kainic acid-induced seizures in rats. The rats were intraperitoneally administrated echinacoside for 30 min prior to intraperitoneal injection with kainic acid. The results showed that kainic acid induced seizure-like behavioral patterns, increased glutamate concentrations, caused neuronal loss and microglial activation, and stimulated proinflammatory cytokine gene expression in the hippocampus. These kainic acid-induced alternations were found to be attenuated by echinacoside pretreatment. Furthermore, decreased Akt and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) phosphorylation as well as Bcl-2 expression in the hippocampus was reversed by the echinacoside pretreatment. These results demonstrate that echinacoside exert its antiepileptic and neuroprotective actions in a kainic acid rat model through suppressing inflammatory response and activating the Akt/GSK3β signaling. Therefore, the present study suggests that echinacoside is the potentially useful in the prevention of epilepsy.
 
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