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Axon- or dendrite-predominant outgrowth induced by constituents from Ashwagandha

Kuboyama, Tomoharu; Tohda, Chihiro; Zhao, Jing1; Nakamura, Norio1; Hattori, Masao1; Komatsu, KatsukoCA


We previously reported that the methanol extract of Ashwagandha (roots of Withania somnifera Dunal) induced dendrite extension in a human neuroblastoma cell line. In this study, we found that six of the 18 compounds isolated from the methanol extract enhanced neurite outgrowth in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Double immunostaining was performed in rat cortical neurons using antibodies to phosphorylated NF-H as an axonal marker, and to MAP2 as a dendritic marker. In withanolide A-treated cells, the length of NF-H-positive processes was significantly increased compared with vehicle-treated cells, whereas, the length of MAP2-positive processes was increased by withanosides IV and VI. These results suggest that axons are predominantly extended by withanolide A, and dendrites by withanosides IV and VI.

Research Center for Ethnomedicines

1Department of Metabolic Engineering, Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan

CACorresponding Author:

Received 20 June 2002; accepted 10 July 2002

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.