Theaflavic acid from black tea protects PC12 cells against ROS-mediated mitochondrial apoptosis induced by OGD/R via activating Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway

  • Yan Li
  • Jing Shi
  • Xinting Sun
  • Yafeng Li
  • Yinyin Duan
  • Huankai YaoEmail author


Cerebral ischemic stroke is a severe disease afflicting people worldwide. Phytochemicals play a pivotal role in the discovery of novel therapeutic approaches for the prevention of ischemic stroke. In our continual search for bioactive natural products for the treatment of ischemic stroke, we have evaluated the protective effects of theaflavic acid (TFA) from black tea using PC12 cells injured by oxygen and glucose deprivation/restoration (OGD/R), and investigated the possible mechanisms. The results showed that TFA can protect PC12 cells against OGD/R through increasing cell viability and decreasing intracellular lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. Further investigations found that TFA could inhibit the overproduction of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), reduce malondialdehyde content, and elevate superoxide dismutase activity, which implied that TFA suppresses oxidative stress in PC12 cells induced by OGD/R. In addition, overload of intracellular calcium and collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential were improved in the presence of TFA, and the activity of caspase-3 was significantly reduced by TFA. Western blot analysis showed that the expression of Bcl-2 was up-regulated while Bax was down-regulated. Therefore, it can be concluded that TFA can inhibit mitochondria-dependent apoptosis of PC12 cells induced by OGD/R. In addition, activation of the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/antioxidant response elements (ARE) signaling pathway was explored to elucidate the mechanism by which TFA inhibits ROS-mediated apoptosis in PC12 cells. The results revealed that TFA promoted the translocation of Nrf2 into nuclei, enhanced the transcriptional activity of ARE, and up-regulated expression of downstream HO-1, which indicates that the Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway is involved in the protection by TFA of PC12 cells injured by OGD/R.


Theaflavic acid Ischemic stroke PC12 cells Oxidative stress Apoptosis Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Li
    • 1
  • Jing Shi
    • 1
  • Xinting Sun
    • 2
  • Yafeng Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yinyin Duan
    • 1
  • Huankai Yao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of PharmacyXuzhou Medical UniversityXuzhouChina
  2. 2.China Rehabilitation Center, Beijing Key Laboratory of Neural Injury and Rehabitilation, School of Rehabilitation MedicineCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of PharmacyFengxian People’s HospitalXuzhouChina

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