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Go-sha-jinki-Gan Alleviates Inflammation in Neurological Disorders via p38-TNF Signaling in the Central Nervous System

Jiang, S;Baba, K;Okuno, T;Kinoshita, M;Choong, CJ;Hayakawa, H;Sakiyama, H;Ikenaka, K;Nagano, S;Sasaki, T;Shimamura, M;Nagai, Y;Hagihara, K;Mochizuki, H;

Go-sha-jinki-Gan (GJG) is a traditional Japanese herbal medicine. In clinical practice, GJG is effective against neuropathic pain and hypersensitivity induced by chemotherapy or diabetes. In our previous study using a chronic constriction injury mouse model, we showed that GJG inhibited microglia activation by suppressing the expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) in the peripheral nervous system. To investigate whether GJG can suppress inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) in the context of neurological disorders, we examined the effect of GJG on the activation of resident glial cells and on p38-TNF signaling in two mouse models of neurological disorders: the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of multiple sclerosis and the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) model of Parkinson’s disease. GJG administration relieved the severity of clinical EAE symptoms and MPTP-induced inflammation by decreasing the number of microglia and the production of TNF-α in the spinal cord of EAE mice and the substantia nigra of MPTP-treated mice. Accordingly, GJG suppressed the phosphorylation of p38 in glial cells of these two mouse models. We conclude that GJG attenuates inflammation of the CNS by suppressing glial cell activation, followed by a decrease in the production of TNF-α via p38-TNF signaling.