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In vitro protective effects of Withania somnifera (L.) dunal root extract against hydrogen peroxide and beta-amyloid(1-42)-induced cytotoxicity in differentialted PC12 cells

Lookup NU author(s): Suresh KUMAR, Emeritus Professor Chris SealORCiD, Dr Ed Okello


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Withania somnifera L. Dunal (Solanaceae), also known as ‘ashwagandha’ in Sanskrit and as ‘Indian ginseng’, is used widely in Ayurvedic medicine as a nerve tonic and memory enhancer, with antiaging, antistress, immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties. There is a paucity of data on the potential neuroprotective effects of W. somnifera root, as traditionally used, against H2O2- and Aβ(1–42)-induced cytotoxicity which are current targets for novel approaches to treat dementia, especially dementia of the Alzheimer's type (AD). In this study, an aqueous extract prepared from the dried roots of W. somnifera was assessed for potential protective effects against H2O2- and Aβ(1–42)-aggregated fibril cytotoxicity by an MTT assay using a differentiated rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cell line. The results suggest that pretreatments of differentiated PC12 cells with aqueous extracts of W. somnifera root significantly protect differentiated PC12 cells against both H2O2- and Aβ(1–42)-induced cytotoxicity, in a concentration dependent manner. To investigate the compounds that could explain the observed effects, the W. somnifera extract was analysed by liquid chromatography–serial mass spectrometry and numerous withanolide derivatives, including withaferin A, were detected. These results demonstrate the neuroprotective properties of an aqueous extract of W. somnifera root and may provide some explanation for the putative ethnopharmacological uses of W. somnifera for cognitive and other neurodegenerative disorders that are associated with oxidative stress.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kumar S, Seal CJ, Howes MJ, Kite GC, Okello EJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Phytotherapy Research

Year: 2010

Volume: 24

Issue: 10

Pages: 1567-1574

Print publication date: 02/08/2010

ISSN (print): 0951-418X

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1573

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/ptr.3261

PubMed id: 20680931


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