Background. Salvianolic acid B (Sal B) is one of the most bioactive components of Salvia miltiorrhiza, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that has been commonly used for prevention and treatment of cerebrovascular disorders. However, the mechanism responsible for such protective effects remains largely unknown. It has been considered that cerebral endothelium apoptosis caused by reactive oxygen species including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is implicated in the pathogenesis of cerebrovascular disorders. Methodology and Principal Findings. By examining the effect of Sal B on H2O2-induced apoptosis in rat cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (rCMECs), we found that Sal B pretreatment significantly attenuated H2O2-induced apoptosis in rCMECs. We next examined the signaling cascade(s) involved in Sal B-mediated anti-apoptotic effects. We showed that H2O2 induces rCMECs apoptosis mainly through the PI3K/ERK pathway, since a PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) blocked ERK activation caused by H2O2 and a specific inhibitor of MEK (U0126) protected cells from apoptosis. On the other hand, blockage of the PI3K/Akt pathway abrogated the protective effect conferred by Sal B and potentated H2O2-induced apoptosis, suggesting that Sal B prevents H2O2-induced apoptosis predominantly through the PI3K/Akt (upstream of ERK) pathway. Significance. Our findings provide the first evidence that H2 O2 induces rCMECs apoptosis via the PI3K/MEK/ERK pathway and that Sal B protects rCMECs against H2O2-induced apoptosis through the PI3K/Akt/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)