Ursolic acid protects hippocampal neurons against kainate-induced excitotoxicity in rats

Yang Hsin Shih, Yi Chun Chein, Jia Yi Wang, Yu Show Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Ursolic acid is the major component of extracts of the Chinese herb, Souyang. This study determines whether and how ursolic acid protects against kainate-induced excitotoxicity in rat hippocampus. Primary neuronal cultures of cells isolated from the hippocampi of 7-day-old rats were treated with 150 μM kainate. After 2 h of treatment, free radicals were elevated and mitochondrial membrane potential was reduced significantly, and after 12 h, cell viability was decreased. Pretreatment with 5-15 μM ursolic acid dose-dependently and significantly attenuated the kainate-induced damage as well as alleviating the decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential and suppressing the increase in free radical generation. The results suggest that multiple mechanisms including modulation of AMPA receptor, protection of mitochondria, decrease in free radical generation, and scavenging of free radicals might be involved in ursolic acid protection against kainate-induced cell toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-140
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Excitotoxicity
  • Free radicals
  • Kainate
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential
  • Ursolic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Ursolic acid protects hippocampal neurons against kainate-induced excitotoxicity in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this