Pathomechanism characterization and potential therapeutics identification for parkinson’s disease targeting neuroinflammation

Chiung Mei Chen, Chien Yu Yen, Wan Ling Chen, Chih Hsin Lin, Yih Ru Wu, Kuo Hsuan Chang, Guey Jen Lee-Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons and the presence of α-synuclein-containing Lewy bodies. The unstructured α-synuclein forms insoluble fibrils and aggregates that result in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cellular toxicity in PD. Neuroinflammation engaged by microglia actively contributes to the pathogenesis of PD. In this study, we showed that VB-037 (a quinoline compound), glycyrrhetic acid (a pentacyclic triterpenoid), Glycyrrhiza inflata (G. inflata, a Chinese herbal medicine), and Shaoyao Gancao Tang (SG-Tang, a formulated Chinese medicine) sup-pressed the nitric oxide (NO) production and interleukin (IL)-1β maturation in α-synuclein-stimulated BV-2 cells. Mouse inflammation antibody array further revealed increased IL-1α, IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-6, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) expression in α-synuclein-inflamed BV-2 cells and compound pretreatment effectively reduced the expression and release of these pro-inflammatory mediators. The test compounds and herbal medicines further reduced α-synuclein aggregation and associated oxidative stress, and protected cells against α-synuclein-induced neurotoxicity by downregulating NLR family pyrin domain containing 1 (NLRP1) and 3 (NLRP3), caspase 1, IL-1β, IL-6, and associated nuclear factor (NF)-κB inhib-itor alpha (IκBα)/NF-κB P65 subunit (P65), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/proto-oncogene c-Jun (JUN), mitogen-activated protein kinase 14 (P38)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) and Janus kinase 2 (JAK2)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathways in dopaminergic neurons derived from α-synuclein-expressing SH-SY5Y cells. Our findings indicate the potential of VB-037, glycyrrhetic acid, G. inflata, and SG-Tang through miti-gating α-synuclein-stimulated neuroinflammation in PD, as new drug candidates for PD treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1062
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 1


  • IL-1β/IL-6
  • IkBα/P65
  • JAK2/STAT3
  • NLRP1/3
  • P38/STAT1
  • Parkinson’s disease/α-synuclein
  • Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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