Formulated Chinese medicine shaoyao gancao tang reduces tau aggregation and exerts neuroprotection through anti-oxidation and anti-inflammation

I. Cheng Chen, Te Hsien Lin, Yu Hsuan Hsieh, Chih Ying Chao, Yih Ru Wu, Kuo Hsuan Chang, Ming Chung Lee, Guey Jen Lee-Chen*, Chiung Mei Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

29 Scopus citations


Misfolded tau proteins induce accumulation of free radicals and promote neuroinflammation by activating microglia-releasing proinflammatory cytokines, leading to neuronal cell death. Traditional Chinese herbal medicines (CHMs) have been widely used in clinical practice to treat neurodegenerative diseases associated with oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. This study examined the neuroprotection effects of formulated CHMs Bai-Shao (made of Paeonia lactiflora), Gan-Cao (made of Glycyrrhiza uralensis), and Shaoyao Gancao Tang (SG-Tang, made of P. lactiflora and G. uralensis at 1: 1 ratio) in cell model of tauopathy. Our results showed that SG-Tang displayed a greater antioxidative and antiaggregation effect than Bai-Shao and Gan-Cao and a stronger anti-inflammatory activity than Bai-Shao but similar to Gan-Cao. In inducible 293/SH-SY5Y cells expressing proaggregant human tau repeat domain (ΔK280 tauRD), SG-Tang reduced tau misfolding and reactive oxygen species (ROS) level in ΔK280 tauRD 293 cells and promoted neurite outgrowth in ΔK280 tauRD SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, SG-Tang displayed anti-inflammatory effects by reducing nitric oxide (NO) production in mouse BV-2 microglia and increased cell viability of ΔK280 tauRD-expressing SH-SY5Y cells inflamed by BV-2 conditioned medium. To uncover the neuroprotective mechanisms of SG-Tang, apoptosis protein array analysis of inflamed tau expressing SH-SY5Y cells was conducted and the suppression of proapoptotic proteins was confirmed. In conclusion, SG-Tang displays neuroprotection by exerting antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities to suppress neuronal apoptosis in human tau cell models. The study results lay the base for future applications of SG-Tang on tau animal models to validate its effect of reducing tau misfolding and potential disease modification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9595741
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

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Copyright © 2018 I-Cheng Chen et al.


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