Res. Chem. Intermed.
, Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 605–613 (2004)
Also available online - www.vsppub.com
Different effects of ferulic acid and tetramethylpyrazine
on the production of superoxide anion and nitric oxide
in murine macrophages
, SHEN ZHANG
, QIU-HUA GAO
, JING-WU HOU
and TAO-TAO WEI
Department of Chemistry, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Huaihua Medical College, Huaihua 418000, China
Center for Molecular Biology, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Science,
15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China
Received 15 January 2004; accepted 3 March 2004
Abstract—The effects of ferulic acid and tetramethylpyrazine, two active ingredients of the Chinese
herbal medicine Ligusticum wallichii Franchat, on the generation of superoxide anion and nitric oxide
in macrophages were studied. Ferulic acid, but not tetramethylpyrazine, scavenges superoxide anion
dose-dependently. Tetramethylpyrazine inhibits the expression of the iNOS gene, and consequently
decreases the formation of nitric oxide. However, ferulic acid shows no effect on iNOS expression
and NO production. The results suggest that the protective effects of extracts of Ligusticum wallichi
Franchat against ischemic injury might be due to the scavenging of superoxide anion and the
regulation of NO production.
Keywords: Ferulic acid; tetramethylpyrazine; nitric oxide; superoxide; macrophage; iNOS.
The Chinese herbal medicine Ligusticum wallichii Franchat (Chuan Xiong) is
widely used in the treatment of ischemic stroke and arteriosclerosis by Chinese
herbalists. However, by which mechanism Ligusticum wallichii Franchat protects
the brain is still not clear. Phytochemists have investigated the components of ex-
tracts of Ligusticum wallichii Franchat systematically, and hundreds of components
have been identiﬁed. Ferulic acid (FA) and tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) are two of
the most important active ingredients; their structures are shown in Fig. 1. Among
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