Anticonvulsant and Neuroprotective Effects of Paeonol in Epileptic Rats

  • Dong-Hai Liu
  • Elvis Agbo
  • Shu-Hong Zhang
  • Jin-Ling ZhuEmail author
Original Paper


Paeonol is the main active compound in the root bark extract of the peony tree, and it has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. Recent studies have reported the neuroprotective effects of paeonol including its capacity in improving impaired memory. However, the effect of paeonol on epilepsy is yet to be demystified. We aimed to investigate the therapeutic effect of paeonol in epilepsy and its relationship with oxidative stress damage and neuronal loss in the rat brain to reveal the underlying mechanisms of epileptic seizures. A rat model for chronic epilepsy was established, and the seizure scores of the rats in different groups were recorded. The seizure duration and the seizure onset latency were used to evaluate the anticonvulsant effects of paeonol. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end-labeling staining, Nissl staining and H/E staining were used to evaluate the effects of paeonol on neuronal loss and apoptosis in epileptic rats. The colorimetric assessment of malondialdehyde (MDA) content, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, catalase activity and total antioxidant capacity of paeonol were used in assessing paeonol’s effect on oxidative stress in epileptic rats. Evaluation of Caspase-3 mRNA and protein expression levels were determined using western blot and quantitative real-time (RT-q)PCR. In this study, we found that paeonol reduced the seizure scores of epileptic rats and attenuated the duration and onset latency of seizures. Paeonol can also increase the activities of total antioxidant capacity, SOD and catalase activity and reduce MDA content as well. This suggests that paeonol can improve the level of oxidative stress in rats. More significantly, paeonol can improve neuronal loss and apoptosis in epileptic rats. These results indicate that paeonol has anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects in epileptic rats. This effect may be caused by reducing oxidative stress.


Paeonol Epilepsy Oxidative stress Anticonvulsant Neuroprotective Apoptosis 



The authors of this manuscript are grateful to Jiamusi University in China for providing the facilities for this study.


This research was funded by the Heilongjiang Provincial Department of Education Research Fund (2017-KYYWF-0583) and Heilongjiang University Student Innovation Project (201810222017).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We hereby declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dong-Hai Liu
    • 1
  • Elvis Agbo
    • 2
  • Shu-Hong Zhang
    • 3
  • Jin-Ling Zhu
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Basic MedicineJiamusi UniversityJiamusiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy, School of Basic MedicineJiamusi UniversityJiamusiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Biology, School of Basic MedicineJiamusi UniversityJiamusiPeople’s Republic of China

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