Echinocystic acid provides a neuroprotective effect via the PI3K/AKT pathway in intracerebral haemorrhage mice

Beilei Chen, Yuanyuan Zhao, Wei Li, Jing Hang, Mengmei Yin, Hailong Yu


Background: Echinocystic acid (EA), a natural extract from plants of Gleditsia sinensis Lam, exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic activities in different diseases. In this study, we explored the pharmacological effects of EA on intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) in a collagenase-induced ICH mouse model.
Methods: EA (50 mg/kg, i.p. q.d) was injected after the establishment of ICH, and we measured the amount of degraded neurons in brain tissue with Fluoro-Jade C staining and the haemorrhagic injury volume with Luxol fast blue staining on day 3 after ICH. We also assessed animal behaviour by rotarod test, claw force test and modified neurological severity score (mNSS) score. The expression of apoptosis-related proteins such as Bcl-2, Bax and cleaved caspase-3 was analysed by Western blot.
Results: EA reduced both the death of neurons and the volume of haemorrhagic injury after ICH. The haemorrhage infarct volume of the ICH+EA group was 9.84%±3.32% lower than that in the ICH group of mice (P<0.01). The mNSS score of the ICH+EA treated group was 4.75±0.55 lower than that in the ICH group (P<0.01). With the administration of EA after ICH, the expression of Bcl-2 was upregulated while the Bax level was downregulated. The cleaved caspase-3 level was also significantly decreased. We further investigated the neuroprotective mechanism of EA. Western blot results showed that the expression of P-AKT increased after EA treatment and decreased after LY294002, an inhibitor of the PI3K/AKT pathway, treatment.
Conclusions: EA may provide neuroprotection via activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. Given the safety of EA has been proven, further studies are required to investigate whether EA is a potential agent for the treatment of ICH.