Cyanidin-3-Glucoside Reverses Ethanol-Induced Inhibition of Neurite Outgrowth: Role of Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 Beta

Gang Chen, Kimberly A. Bower, Mei Xu, Min Ding, Xianglin Shi, Zun Ji Ke, Jia Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Ethanol is a potent teratogen for the developing central nervous system (CNS), and fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most common nonhereditary cause of mental retardation. Ethanol disrupts neuronal differentiation and maturation. It is important to identify agents that provide neuroprotection against ethanol neurotoxicity. Using an in vitro neuronal model, mouse Neuro2a (N2a) neuroblastoma cells, we demonstrated that ethanol inhibited neurite outgrowth and the expression of neurofilament (NF) proteins. Glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), a multifunctional serine/threonine kinase negatively regulated neurite outgrowth of N2a cells; inhibiting GSK3β activity by retinoic acid (RA) and lithium induced neurite outgrowth, while over-expression of a constitutively active S9A GSK3β mutant prevented neurite outgrowth. Ethanol inhibited neurite outgrowth by activating GSK3β through the dephosphorylation of GSK3β at serine 9. Cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G), a member of the anthocyanin family rich in many edible berries and other pigmented fruits, enhanced neurite outgrowth by promoting p-GSK3β(Ser9). More importantly, C3G reversed ethanol-mediated activation of GSK3β and inhibition of neurite outgrowth as well as the expression of NF proteins. C3G also blocked ethanol-induced intracellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, the antioxidant effect of C3G appeared minimally involved in its protection. Our study provides a potential avenue for preventing or ameliorating ethanol-induced damage to the developing CNS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalNeurotoxicity Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AA015407), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30470544, 30471452, and 30570580). Dr. Z-J. Ke was also supported by the One Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


  • Alcohol
  • Development
  • Differentiation
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Toxicology


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