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Sashourpour, Mandyeh; Zahri, Saber; Radjabian, Tayebeh; Ruf, Viktoria; Pan-Montojo, Francisco; Morshedi, Dina (2017): A study on the modulation of alpha-synuclein fibrillation by Scutellaria pinnatifida extracts and its neuroprotective properties.
In: PLOS One 12(9), e0184483
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Abstract

Aggregation of alpha-synuclein (alpha-SN) is a key pathogenic event in Parkinson's disease (PD) leading to dopaminergic degeneration. The identification of natural compounds inhibiting alpha-SN aggregation may have a major role in treating PD. Different Scutellaria species are known as valuable medicinal plants, primarily due to their high flavonoid levels. Scutellaria pinnatifida (S. pinnatifida) is endemic to Iran;however, the knowledge of its pharmaceutical properties is limited. Here we report that S. pinnatifida extracts have an anti-fibrillation effect on alpha-SN aggregation and neuroprotective properties on PC12 and primary dopaminergic neurons. Treatment during alpha-SN fibril formation with S. pinnatifida extracts showed that the extractions performed with dichloromethane (DCMEx) and n-butanol (BuOHEx) strongly inhibited alpha-SN fibrillation. TLC-based analysis revealed that S. pinnatifida contains a great amount of flavonoids with high antioxidant properties as shown using a radical scavenging assay. Further analysis using HPLC and Mass spectroscopy on the DCMEx revealed the presence of baicalein in this extract. We then selected the more efficient extracts based on cell viability and ROS scavenging on PC12 cells and tested their neuroprotective properties on primary dopaminergic neurons. Our results showed the extracts strongly protected against alpha-SN oligomers. Surprisingly, they also neutralized the severe toxicity of paraquat. Therefore, S. pinnatifida may be a potential valuable medicinal herb for further studies related to the treatment of PD.