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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Rubia cordifolia, Fagonia cretica linn and Tinospora cordifolia exert neuroprotection by modulating the antioxidant system in rat hippocampal slices subjected to oxygen glucose deprivation

Avinash K Rawal1, Manohar G Muddeshwar2 and Saibal K Biswas3*

Author Affiliations

1 SMV Center for Biotechnology, Sindhu Mahavidyalaya, Panchpaoli, Nagpur-440017, MS. India

2 Department of Biochemistry, Superspeciality Hospital and Research Center, Government Medical College, Nagpur-440003, MS, India

3 Cardiovascular Division, Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Hugh Robson Building, George square, Edinburgh-EH8 9XE and Head, Department of Biochemistry, Dr. Ambedkar College, Deeksha Bhoomi, Nagpur-440010, MS, India

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2004, 4:11  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-4-11

Published: 13 August 2004



The major damaging factor during and after the ischemic/hypoxic insult is the generation of free radicals, which leads to apoptosis, necrosis and ultimately cell death. Rubia cordifolia (RC), Fagonia cretica linn (FC) and Tinospora cordifolia (TC) have been reported to contain a wide variety of antioxidants and have been in use in the eastern system of medicine for various disorders. However, their mechanism of action was largely unknown. We therefore selected these herbs for the present study to test their neuroprotective ability and the associated mechanism in rat hippocampal slices subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD).


Hippocampal Slices were subjected to OGD (oxygen glucose deprivation) and divided into 3 groups: control, OGD and OGD + drug treated. Cytosolic Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu-Zn SOD), reduced glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), nitric oxide (NO) was measured as nitrite (NO2) in the supernatant and protein assays were performed in the respective groups at various time intervals. EPR was used to establish the antioxidant effect of RC, FC and TC with respect to superoxide anion (O2.-), hydroxyl radicals (. OH), nitric oxide (NO) radical and peroxynitrite anion (ONOO) generated from pyrogallol, menadione, DETA-NO and Sin-1 respectively. RT-PCR was performed for the three groups for GCLC, iNOS, Cu-Zn SOD and GAPDH gene expression.


All the three herbs were effective in elevating the GSH levels, expression of the gamma-glutamylcysteine ligase and Cu-Zn SOD genes. The herbs also exhibited strong free radical scavenging properties against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species as studied by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. In addition all the three herbs significantly diminished the expression of iNOS gene after 48 hours which plays a major role in neuronal injury during hypoxia/ischemia.


RC, FC and TC therefore attenuate oxidative stress mediated cell injury during OGD and exert the above effects at both the cytosolic as well as at gene expression level and may be an effective therapeutic tool against ischemic brain damage.