Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(12):1415-1426. doi:10.7150/ijbs.16823

Research Paper

Catalpol Protects Pre-Myelinating Oligodendrocytes against Ischemia-induced Oxidative Injury through ERK1/2 Signaling Pathway

Qiyan Cai, Teng Ma, Chengren Li, Yanping Tian, Hongli Li

Chongqing Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Department of Histology and Embryology, College of Basic Medicine, The Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, China.


The vulnerability of pre-myelinating oligodendrocytes (PreOLs) to ischemic injury plays an important role in the pathogenesis and progression of perinatal white matter injury. Although oxidative stress is thought to be a major pathogenic mechanism predisposing the PreOLs to injury, no effective therapies have been identified to date. The present study aimed to investigate the direct protective effects of catalpol, a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger, on ischemia-induced oxidative damage in PreOLs and to explore whether the ERK1/2 signaling pathway contributed to the protection provided by catalpol. Primary cultures of PreOLs exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) followed by reperfusion were used as an in vitro model of ischemia. Pretreatment with 0.5 mM catalpol for 1 h prior to OGD treatment significantly reversed ischemia-induced apoptosis in PreOLs and myelination deficits by inhibiting intracellular Ca2+ increase, reducing mitochondrial damage, and ameliorating overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The expression levels of phosphorylated ERK1/2 (p-ERK1/2) and activated poly-ADP-ribose polymerase-1 (PARP-1) were also markedly decreased by catalpol treatment. Blocking the ERK1/2 signaling pathway with the MEK inhibitor U0126 and catalpol significantly protected PreOLs from ROS-mediated apoptosis under OGD. Taken together, these results suggest that catalpol protects PreOLs against ischemia-induced oxidative injury through ERK1/2 signaling pathway. Catalpol may be a candidate for treating ischemic white matter damage.

Keywords: catalpol, pre-myelinating oligodendrocytes, oxidative stress, ERK1/2, oxygen-glucose deprivation

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How to cite this article:
Cai Q, Ma T, Li C, Tian Y, Li H. Catalpol Protects Pre-Myelinating Oligodendrocytes against Ischemia-induced Oxidative Injury through ERK1/2 Signaling Pathway. Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(12):1415-1426. doi:10.7150/ijbs.16823. Available from