Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 1159–1169 | Cite as

Thymoquinone Prevents β-Amyloid Neurotoxicity in Primary Cultured Cerebellar Granule Neurons

  • Norsharina Ismail
  • Maznah IsmailEmail author
  • Musalmah Mazlan
  • Latiffah Abdul Latiff
  • Mustapha Umar Imam
  • Shahid Iqbal
  • Nur Hanisah Azmi
  • Siti Aisyah Abd Ghafar
  • Kim Wei Chan
Original Research


Thymoquinone (TQ), a bioactive constituent of Nigella sativa Linn (N. sativa) has demonstrated several neuropharmacological attributes. In the present study, the neuroprotective properties of TQ were investigated by studying its anti-apoptotic potential to diminish β-amyloid peptide 1–40 sequence (Aβ1–40)-induced neuronal cell death in primary cultured cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs). The effects of TQ against Aβ1–40-induced neurotoxicity, morphological damages, DNA condensation, the generation of reactive oxygen species, and caspase-3, -8, and -9 activation were investigated. Pretreatment of CGNs with TQ (0.1 and 1 μM) and subsequent exposure to 10 μM Aβ1–40 protected the CGNs against the neurotoxic effects of the latter. In addition, the CGNs were better preserved with intact cell bodies, extensive neurite networks, a loss of condensed chromatin and less free radical generation than those exposed to Aβ1–40 alone. TQ pretreatment inhibited Aβ1–40-induced apoptosis of CGNs via both extrinsic and intrinsic caspase pathways. Thus, the findings of this study suggest that TQ may prevent neurotoxicity and Aβ1–40-induced apoptosis. TQ is, therefore, worth studying further for its potential to reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


Thymoquinone β-Amyloid Alzheimer’s disease Neurotoxicity Primary cultured cerebellar granule neurons 


Beta-amyloid peptide


Alzheimer’s disease




Primary cultured cerebellar granule neurons






Lactate dehydrogenase


Dimethyl sulfoxide


Phosphate buffered saline





Authors are thankful to Government of Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia for providing financial support for this work via Research University Grant.

Conflict of interests

None of the authors have any conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norsharina Ismail
    • 1
  • Maznah Ismail
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Musalmah Mazlan
    • 3
  • Latiffah Abdul Latiff
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mustapha Umar Imam
    • 1
  • Shahid Iqbal
    • 1
    • 6
  • Nur Hanisah Azmi
    • 1
  • Siti Aisyah Abd Ghafar
    • 1
  • Kim Wei Chan
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutricosmeceuticals and Nutrigenomics Programme, Laboratory of Molecular Biomedicine, Institute of BioscienceUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Molecular Biotechnology, Faculty of MedicineUniversiti Teknologi MaraSungai BulohMalaysia
  4. 4.Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  5. 5.Cancer Resource and Education Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  6. 6.Department of ChemistryUniversity of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan

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