This study was conducted to elucidate the neuroprotective effect of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), (R)-2-Hydroxy-3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) propionic acid (Danshensu) and Curcumin, three caffeic acid derivatives which are contained in fruits, grains and certain dietary supplements.
Our results showed that these compounds significantly attenuated H2O2-induced toxicity in PC12 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, these compounds significantly improved the behavioral performance of d-gal-treated mice in both step-down avoidance test and Morris water maze test. Biochemical examination and western blot analysis showed that these compounds could ameliorate oxidative stress and facilitate activation of the protein kinase A (PKA)-cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB) pathway.
Its beneficial effects may partly relate to enhancing the activity of endogenous antioxidant enzymes and modulating the PKA/CREB signaling pathway. Furthermore, our results also indicated that the presence of 3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl groups in A ring may enhance their neuroprotective activity.