Danshensu Calms Nerve Cells in the Ear by Boosting Potassium Flow

Jenn Hoskins
31st May, 2024

Danshensu Calms Nerve Cells in the Ear by Boosting Potassium Flow

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study focused on the neuroprotective effects of Danshensu, derived from the herb Salvia miltiorrhiza, on neurons in the mouse brainstem
  • Danshensu significantly reduced the excitability of bushy cells, which are critical for auditory processing, by decreasing their input resistance and shifting the voltage threshold of spiking
  • This reduction in neuronal excitability was due to enhanced voltage-gated potassium (K+) currents, including both low and high voltage-activated currents
Ischemic heart diseases and neurodegenerative disorders continue to present significant health challenges worldwide. Traditional Chinese medicine has long been a source of potential therapeutic compounds, with Danshensu, derived from the herb Salvia miltiorrhiza, being one of the most promising candidates. Recent research conducted by the Life Sciences Department aimed to elucidate the mechanisms behind Danshensu's neuroprotective effects, particularly its impact on neuronal excitability and voltage-gated ionic currents in the central nervous system[1]. Danshensu has been previously noted for its antioxidative and neuroprotective properties[2]. However, the specific pathways through which it exerts these effects were not well understood. The new study aimed to bridge this gap by investigating how Danshensu modulates neuronal excitability, focusing on the anteroventral cochlear nucleus in the mouse brainstem. Using advanced patch-clamp recording techniques, researchers observed the behavior of bushy cells—neurons critical for auditory processing—both with and without Danshensu incubation. The findings revealed that Danshensu at a concentration of 100 μm significantly decreased the input resistance of bushy cells by about 60% and shifted the voltage threshold of spiking positively by approximately 7 mV. This resulted in a marked reduction in neuronal excitability. The study further demonstrated that this reduced excitability was due to enhanced voltage-gated potassium (K+) currents, including both low voltage-activated (IK,A) and high voltage-activated (IK,dr) currents, which increased by approximately 100% and 30%, respectively. These results are consistent with previous studies highlighting the cardioprotective effects of Danshensu and its derivatives. For instance, a study on Shenge, a combination of puerarin and Danshensu, showed significant cardioprotective effects against acute ischemic myocardial injury in rats by reducing oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation[3]. Another study synthesized a novel Danshensu derivative, ADTM, which displayed superior cardioprotective effects compared to its parent compound, mediated through the Akt/PI3K and Nrf2 pathways[4]. The current study builds on these findings by providing a clearer understanding of how Danshensu operates at the cellular level in the central nervous system. By enhancing voltage-gated K+ currents, Danshensu effectively reduces the excitability of neurons, which could explain its neuroprotective effects observed in vivo. This mechanism is particularly relevant for conditions characterized by excessive neuronal excitability, such as epilepsy and certain neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, the dose-dependent nature of Danshensu's effects on K+ currents adds another layer of understanding. The study found no enhancement in K+ currents at a concentration of 50 μm, while a concentration of 200 μm did not significantly increase the enhancement compared to 100 μm. This suggests an optimal concentration range for Danshensu's neuroprotective effects, which could be crucial for its therapeutic application. In summary, this study from the Life Sciences Department provides valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying Danshensu's neuroprotective properties. By demonstrating how Danshensu enhances voltage-gated K+ currents to reduce neuronal excitability, the research offers a mechanistic explanation for its observed benefits in vivo. These findings not only advance our understanding of Danshensu but also open new avenues for developing targeted therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions involving neuronal hyperexcitability.



Main Study

1) Danshensu reduces neuronal excitability by enhancing potassium currents in bushy cells in the mouse cochlear nucleus.

Published 1st July, 2024 (future Journal edition)


Related Studies

2) Therapeutic potentials and mechanisms of the Chinese traditional medicine Danshensu.


3) Protective roles of puerarin and Danshensu on acute ischemic myocardial injury in rats.

Journal: Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, Issue: Vol 14, Issue 10, Oct 2007

4) A novel Danshensu derivative confers cardioprotection via PI3K/Akt and Nrf2 pathways.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙