Neuroprotective effect of undecylenic acid extracted from Ricinus communis L. through inhibition of μ-calpain

Eunyoung Lee, Ji Eun Eom, Hye Lin Kim, Da Hye Kang, Kyu Yeon Jun, Duk Sang Jung, Youngjoo Kwon

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21 Scopus citations


The key neuropathological features of Alzheimer's disease are abnormal deposition of Aβ plaques and insoluble Aβ peptides in extracellular brain and intracellular neurofibril tangles induced by abnormal tau hyperphosphorylation. μ-Calpain is one of the factors that bridge these Aβ- and hyperphosphorylated tau-mediated pathological pathways. Undecylenic acid (UDA), a naturally occurring unsaturated fatty acid, was discovered as a μ-calpain inhibitor by screening a chemical library using a substrate specific μ-calpain assay method. UDA inhibited Aβ oligomerization and Aβ fibrillation and reversed Aβ-induced neuronal cell death. In addition, UDA scavenged ROS and reversed the levels of proapoptotic proteins induced by ROS in SH-SY5Y cells. UDA inhibited μ-calpain activity with better potency than the known peptide-like μ-calpain inhibitor, MDL28170, in SH-SY5Y and HEK293T cells transfected with the catalytic subunit of μ-calpain. These results suggest that UDA is a novel non-peptide-like μ-calpain inhibitor with good cell permeability and potent neuroprotective effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 12 May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( 2011-0011007 ) and by the Ewha Global Top5 Grant 2011 of Ewha Womans University. Jun K.Y. was partially supported by Ewha Womans University.


  • Extraction of Ricinus communis L.
  • Tau hyperphosphorylation
  • Undecylenic acid
  • p25 Generation
  • μ-Calpain inhibitor


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