Paeoniflorin and Plycyrrhetinic Acid Synergistically Alleviate MPP/MPTP-Induced Oxidative Stress through Nrf2-Dependent Glutathione Biosynthesis Mechanisms.
ACS Chem Neurosci. 2021 Mar 16. Epub 2021 Mar 16. PMID: 33724802
Recently, combination therapy has proven to be an effective strategy for treating polygenic/multifactorial/complex disorder such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we hypothesized that dual up-regulation of glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL) catalytic subunit (GCLc) and GCL modifier subunit (GCLm) via nuclear factor E2-related factor (Nrf2) contribute to the antioxidant effect of paeoniflorin (PF) synergistically with glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) (henceforth called PF/GA) in the context of MPP/MPTP neurotoxicity. Expectedly, CompuSyn synergism/antagonism analysis showed that PF/GA exerts synergistic neuroprotection. Moreover, the antioxidant effect of PF was significantly enhanced by the combined administration of GA, although GA alone did not confer the effect. Mechanistically, PF triggered extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) phosphorylation, resulting in Nrf2 nuclear translocation from cytoplasmic pool via de novo synthesis in MPP-challenged SH-SY5Y cells. Concomitantly, GA activates Akt which in turn induces nuclear accumulation of Nrf2. Especially, PF/GA up-regulated glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (Gclc) and glutamate-cysteine ligase modifier subunit (Gclm) are formed via two separate pathways. Furthermore, these results were confirmed through pathway blockade assays using PD98059 (ERK1/2 inhibitor), LY294002 (phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase inhibitor), and shRNA-induced Nrf2 knockdown. Additionally, using a mouse MPTP-induced model of PD, we demonstrated that PF/GA synergistically ameliorates both motor deficits and oxidative stress in the ventral midbrain. In parallel, PF/GA also up-regulated both GCLc and GCLm expression at levels of transcription and translation. Conversely, antiparkinsonism and antioxidant effects of PF/GA were not observed in Nrf2-knockout MPTP-mice. Collectively, these results show that ERK1/2 and Akt activation contribute to the synergistic antioxidant effect of PF/GA. Hence, PF/GA regimen warrants further preclinical and possible clinical study for PD.