Centella asiatica accelerates nerve regeneration upon oral administration and contains multiple active fractions increasing neurite elongation in-vitro

Amala Soumyanath, Yong Ping Zhong, Sandra A. Gold, Xiaolin Yu, Dennis R. Koop, Dennis Bourdette, Bruce G. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

Axonal regeneration is important for functional recovery following nerve damage. Centella asiatica Urban herb, also known as Hydrocotyle asiatica L., has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a nerve tonic. Here, we show that Centella asiatica ethanolic extract (100μg mL-1) elicits a marked increase in neurite outgrowth in human SH-SY5Y cells in the presence of nerve growth factor (NGF). However, a water extract of Centella was ineffective at 100 μgmL-1. Sub-fractions of Centella ethanolic extract, obtained through silica-gel chromatography, were tested (100 μgmL -1) for neurite elongation in the presence of NGF. Greatest activity was found with a non-polar fraction (GKF4). Relatively polar fractions (GKF10 to GKF13) also showed activity, albeit less than GKF4. Thus, Centella contains more than one active component. Asiatic acid (AA), a triterpenoid compound found in Centella ethanolic extract and GKF4, showed marked activity at 1 μm (0.5 μgmL-1). AA was not present in GKF10 to GKF13, further indicating that other active components must be present. Neurite elongation by AA was completely blocked by the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway inhibitor PD 098059 (10 μm). Male Sprague-Dawley rats given Centella ethanolic extract in their drinking water (300-330 mg kg-1 daily) demonstrated more rapid functional recovery and increased axonal regeneration (larger calibre axons and greater numbers of myelinated axons) compared with controls, indicating that the axons grew at a faster rate. Taken together, our findings indicate that components in Centella ethanolic extract may be useful for accelerating repair of damaged neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1229
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Volume57
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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