J Nutr Health.  2021 Dec;54(6):618-630. 10.4163/jnh.2021.54.6.618.

Neuroprotective effect of fermented ginger extracts by Bacillus subtilis in SH-SY5Y cells

  • 1Functional Food & Nutrition Division, Department of Agrofood Resources, National Institute of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Wanju 55365, Korea


The ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale) is widely cultivated as a spice for its aromatic and pungent components. One of its constituents, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) is usually thought to cross the cell membrane through dopamine uptake transporters, and induce inhibition of mitochondrial respiration and the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). This study examines the neuroprotective effect and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity of fermented ginger extracts (FGEs) on 6-OHDA induced toxicity in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells.
Ginger was fermented using 2 species of Bacillus subtilis, with or without enzyme pretreatment. Each sample was extracted with 70% ethanol. Neurotoxicity was assessed by applying the EZ-Cytox cell viability assay and by measuring lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) release. Morphological changes of apoptotic cell nuclei were observed by Hoechst staining. Cell growth and apoptosis of SH-SY5Y cells were determined by Western blotting and enzyme activity analysis of caspase-3, and AChE enzymatic activity was determined by the assay.
In terms of cell viability and LDH release, exposure to FGE showed neuroprotective activities against 6-OHDA stimulated stress in SH-SY5Y cells. Furthermore, FGE reduced the 6-OHDA-induced apoptosis, as determined by Hoechst staining. The occurrence of apoptosis in 6-OHDA treated cells was confirmed by determining the caspase-3 activity. Exposure to 6-OHDA resulted in increased caspase-3 activity of SH-SY5Y cells, as compared to the unexposed group. However, pre-treatment with FGE inhibited the activity of caspase-3. The neuroprotective effects of FGE were also found to be caspase-dependent, based on reduction of caspase-3 activity. Exposure to FGE also inhibited the activity of AChE induced by 6-OHDA, in a dose-dependent manner.
Taken together, our results show that FGE exhibits a neuroprotective effect in 6-OHDA treated SH-SY5Y cells, thereby making it a potential novel agent for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative disease.


Zingiber officinale; neuroprotective effect; fermentation; 6-hydroxydopamine
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