Neuroprotective effects of nitidine against traumatic CNS injury via inhibiting microglia activation

Yimin Yuan, Feng Zhu, Yingyan Pu, Dan Wang, Aijun Huang, Xin Hu, Shangyao Qin, Xiu Sun, Zhida Su, Cheng He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Glial cell response to injury has been well documented in the pathogenesis after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI). Although microglia, the resident macrophages in the central nervous system (CNS), are responsible for clearing debris and toxic substances, excessive activation of these cells will lead to exacerbated secondary damage by releasing a variety of inflammatory and cytotoxic mediators and ultimately influence the subsequent repair after CNS injury. In fact, inhibition of microgliosis represents a therapeutic strategy for CNS trauma. We here showed that nitidine, a benzophenanthridine alkaloid, restricted reactive microgliosis and promoted CNS repair after traumatic injury. Nitidine was shown to prevent cultured microglia from LPS-induced reactive activation by regulation of ERK and NF-κB signaling pathway. Furthermore, the nitidine-mediated inhibition of microgliosis was also shown in injured brain and spinal cord, which significantly increased neuronal survival and decreased neural tissue damage after injury. Importantly, behavioral analysis revealed that nitidine-treated mice with SCI had improved functional recovery as assessed by Basso Mouse Scale and swimming test. Together, these findings indicated that nitidine increased CNS tissue sparing and improved functional recovery by attenuating reactive microgliosis, suggestive of the potential therapeutic benefit for CNS injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - 2015


  • Microglia
  • Neuroprotection
  • Nitidine
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuroprotective effects of nitidine against traumatic CNS injury via inhibiting microglia activation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this