Nutr Res Pract.  2023 Oct;17(5):899-916. 10.4162/nrp.2023.17.5.899.

Neuroprotective effects of hesperetin on H 2 O 2 -induced damage in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea


Oxidative stress is a fundamental neurodegenerative disease trigger that damages and decimates nerve cells. Neurodegenerative diseases are chronic central nervous system disorders that progress and result from neuronal degradation and loss. Recent studies have extensively focused on neurodegenerative disease treatment and prevention using dietary compounds. Heseperetin is an aglycone hesperidin form with various physiological activities, such as anti-inflammation, antioxidant, and antitumor. However, few studies have considered hesperetin’s neuroprotective effects and mechanisms; thus, our study investigated this in hydrogen peroxide ( H 2 O 2 )-treated SH-SY5Y cells.
SH-SY5Y cells were treated with H 2 O 2 (400 µM) in hesperetin absence or presence (10–40 µM) for 24 h. Three-(4,5-Dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide assays detected cell viability, and 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining allowed us to observe nuclear morphology changes such as chromatin condensation and apoptotic nuclei. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) detection assays measured intracellular ROS production; Griess reaction assays assessed nitric oxide (NO) production. Western blotting and quantitative polymerase chain reactions quantified corresponding mRNA and proteins.
Subsequent experiments utilized various non-toxic hesperetin concentrations, establishing that hesperetin notably decreased intracellular ROS and NO production in H 2 O 2 -treated SH-SY5Y cells (P < 0.05). Furthermore, hesperetin inhibited H 2 O 2 -induced inflammation-related gene expression, including interluekin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) p65 activation. In addition, hesperetin inhibited NFκB translocation into H 2 O 2 -treated SH-SY5Y cell nuclei and suppressed mitogen-activated protein kinase protein expression, an essential apoptotic cell death regulator. Various apoptosis hallmarks, including shrinkage and nuclear condensation in H 2 O 2 -treated cells, were suppressed dose-dependently. Additionally, hesperetin treatment down-regulated Bax/ Bcl-2 expression ratios and activated AMP-activated protein kinase-mammalian target of rapamycin autophagy pathways.
These results substantiate that hesperetin activates autophagy and inhibits apoptosis and inflammation. Hesperetin is a potentially potent dietary agent that reduces neurodegenerative disease onset, progression, and prevention


Neurodegenerative disease; hydrogen peroxide; inflammation; apoptosis; hesperetin
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