Huperzine A

Potential therapeutic targets of huperzine A for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
Zhang HY, Zheng CY, Yan H, Wang ZF, Tang LL, Gao X, Tang XC.

State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 555 Zu Chong Zhi Road, Shanghai, China.

Huperzine A (HupA), a novel Lycopodium alkaloid isolated from Chinese folk medicine Huperzia serrata (Qian Ceng Ta), is a potent, selective and well-tolerated inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). It has been proven to significantly improve the learning and memory impairment in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) patients in China. Interestingly, our recent data indicate that HupA also possesses other protective functions. This paper will give an overview on the protective effects of HupA, which includes regulating beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) metabolism, protecting against Abeta-mediated oxidative stress, apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction, as well as anti-inflammation. The multiple neuroprotective effects of HupA might yield additional beneficial effects in AD and VaD therapy.

Iinteresting Study Because Beta-Amyloid Plaques Were Injected Directly Iinto The Braine Of Rats And Huperzine A Almost Completely Eliminated The Negative Effects Of These
Beta-Amyloid Plaques

Huperzine A reverses cholinergic and monoaminergic dysfunction induced by bilateral nucleus basalis magnocellularis injection of beta-amyloid peptide (1-40) in rats.
Liang YQ, Huang XT, Tang XC.

State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 555 Zu Chong Zhi Road, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Shanghai, 201203, P.R. China.

Huperzine A, a promising therapeutic agent for Alzheimer's disease (AD), was tested for its effects on cholinergic and monoaminergic dysfunction induced by injecting beta-amyloid peptide-(1-40) into nucleus basalis magnocellularis of the rat. (2) Bilateral injection of 10 microg beta-amyloid peptide-(1-40) into nucleus basalis magnocellularis produced local deposits of amyloid plaque and functional abnormalities detected by microdialysis. In medial prefrontal cortex, reductions in the basal levels and stimulated release of acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and 5-hydroxytryptamine were observed. However, oral huperzine A (0.18 mg/kg, once daily for 21 consecutive days) markedly reduced morphologic abnormalities at the injection site in rats infused with beta-amyloid peptide-(1-40). Likewise, this treatment ameliorated the beta-amyloid peptide-(1-40)-induced deficits in extracellular acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine (though not 5-hydroxytryptamine) in medial prefrontal cortex, and lessened the reduction in nicotine or methoctramine-stimulated release of acetylcholine and K(+)-evoked releases of acetylcholine and dopamine. (3) The present results provide the first direct evidence that huperzine A acts to oppose neurotoxic effects of beta-amyloid peptide on cholinergic, dopaminergic, and noradrenergic systems of the rat forebrain.

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