Microglial cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Chronic activation of microglial cells endangers neuronal survival through the release of various proinflammatory and neurotoxic factors, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1beta, interleukin-6, nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species.

According to a study reported in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 18, 2013), organotypic hippocampal slice cultures and primary microglial cells from rat brain were stimulated with bacterial lipopolysaccharide, and paeonol pretreatment was performed for 30 minutes prior to lipopolysaccharide addition.

The results from this study suggest that paeonol possesses neuroprotective activity in a model of inflammation-induced neurotoxicity and reduces the release of neurotoxic and proinflammatory factors in activated microglial cells, which provide theoretical support for the clinical usage of paeonol in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.