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Salidroside Ameliorates Mitochondria-Dependent Neuronal Apoptosis After Spinal Cord Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury Partially Through Inhibiting Oxidative Stress And Promoting Mitophagy

Changjiang Gu, Linwei Li, Yifan Huang, Dingfei Qian, Wei Liu, Chengliang Zhang, Yongjun Luo, Zheng Zhou, Fanqi Kong, Xuan Zhao, Hao Liu, Peng Gao, Jian Chen, Guoyong Yin

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Ischemia-reperfusion injury is the second most common injury of the spinal cord and has the risk of neurological dysfunction and paralysis, which can seriously affect patient quality of life. Salidroside (Sal) is an active ingredient extracted from Herba Cistanche with a variety of biological attributes such as antioxidant, antiapoptotic, and neuroprotective activities. Moreover, Sal has shown a protective effect in ischemia-reperfusion injury of the liver, heart, and brain, but its effect in ischemia-reperfusion injury of the spinal cord has not been elucidated. Here, we demonstrated for the first time that Sal pretreatment can significantly improve functional recovery in mice after spinal cord ischemia-reperfusion injury and significantly inhibit the apoptosis of neurons both in vivo and in vitro. Neurons have a high metabolic rate, and consequently, mitochondria, as the main energy-supplying suborganelles, become the main injury site of spinal cord ischemia-reperfusion injury. Mitochondrial pathway-dependent neuronal apoptosis is increasingly confirmed by researchers; therefore, Sal’s effect on mitochondria naturally attracted our attention. By means of a range of experiments both in vivo and in vitro, we found that Sal can reduce reactive oxygen species production through antioxidant stress to reduce mitochondrial permeability and mitochondrial damage, and it can also enhance the PINK1-Parkin signaling pathway and promote mitophagy to eliminate damaged mitochondria. In conclusion, our results show that Sal is beneficial to the protection of spinal cord neurons after ischemia-reperfusion injury, mainly by reducing apoptosis associated with the mitochondrial-dependent pathway, among which Sal’s antioxidant and autophagy-promoting properties play an important role.