Yokukansan, a Traditional Japanese Medicine, Enhances the L-DOPA-Induced Rotational Response in 6-Hydroxydopamine-Lesioned Rats: Possible Inhibition of COMT

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The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of the traditional Japanese medicine yokukansan (YKS) on the function of dopamine (DA) in the rat nigrostriatal system. Unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine lesions were produced in the rat nigrostriatal system. Despite a marked loss in the striatal immunoreactivity of tyrosine hydroxylase on the lesion side, striatal serotonin (5-HT) immunoreactivity was not affected. Treatment using L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) in conjunction with benserazide for 15 d induced abnormal involuntary movements (AIMs) such as locomotive (rotational response), axial, forelimb, and orolingual movements in the lesioned rats. The L-DOPA-induced locomotive and axial, but not forelimb and orolingual, AIMs were significantly increased and prolonged by the pre-administration of YKS. We next investigated the effects of YKS on the production of DA from L-DOPA in 5-HT synthetic RIN 14B cells. RIN 14B cells produced DA and its metabolite, 3-methoxytyramine (3-MT), following L-DOPA treatment. YKS significantly augmented DA production and inhibited its metabolism to 3-MT in a manner similar to the catechol-<i>O</i>-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor entacapone. YKS and some alkaloids (corynoxeine: CX, geissoschizine methyl ether: GM) in Uncaria hook, a constituent herb of YKS, also inhibited COMT activity, indicating that the augmenting effect of YKS on L-DOPA-induced DA production in 5-HT synthetic cells was due to the inhibition of COMT by CX and GM. Our results suggest that YKS facilitates the DA supplemental effect of L-DOPA, and that COMT inhibition by CX and GM contributes, at least in part, to the effects of YKS.


  • Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin

    Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 39(1), 104-113, 2016

    The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan


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