腦神經前驅細胞(EGF-responsive brain progenitor cells)是一群存在於大腦皮層真有自我更新及分化能力的幹細胞。這群前驅細胞可在不同環境下被分化誘導為神經細胞或星狀細胞。文獻報導指出腦部神經前驅細胞於胚胎期最多，隨著老化過程而逐漸減少，可能和正常老化及老年性神經相關病變的發生及修復能力有關。本研究將胚胎鼠腦神經原細胞繼代培養於含有上皮生長因子(EGF，epidermal growth factor)無血清培養基中生長，測試抗老化藥物對於其增殖、分化誘導及機能重建的能力。經初步測試，已從二十六種傳統抗老化中草藥中篩選出何首烏具有促進增殖及分化的能力，其中又以何首烏具有最佳生物活性。將何首烏甲醇抽出物以超臨界流體萃取技術分為四個部分別至S4，其中S2 與S3 有較強生物活性。接著以分子篩層析(Sephadex LH -20)分離S2 為12 個部分，其中S2L7, S2L8, S2L9 和S2L10 具有較佳生物活性。此外，果蠅為一廣泛使用於抗老化研究的活體模式；我們建立無菌果蠅飼育系統作為評估抗老化藥物作用之活體模式，何首烏水抽出物可延長果蠅壽命。本研究以無血清胚胎鼠腦神經前驅細胞之繼代培養建立探討抗老化機轉之離體模型，輔以無菌果蠅飼育系統測試藥物對果蠅壽命延長作用之活體模式，為中醫典籍記載傳統抗老化中草藥何首烏提供了科學的佐證。
EGF-responsive brain progenitor cells are a population of stem cells in brain cortex. These progenitor cells can be induced into neurons or astrocytes in the prescence of epidermal growth factor (EGF). It has been reported that the cell population of brain progenitor cells is decreased during aging process. Thus, it provides a good model to examine many aspects of brain physiology and neurology. A serumfree cell culture system using with recombinant murine EGF is established for using as a in vitro model to evaluate the effects of anti-ageing Chinese herbs on cell proliferation, differentiation and functions. Preliminary screening showed that the crude extracts of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (Hoshouwu), promotes the proliferation and neurite outgrowth of neural spheres. Supercritical fuild extraction technology was applied to seperate the Hoshouwu extracts into four fractions, S 1 to S4, S2 and S3 showed promising effects. Sephadex LH20 chromatography further seperates S2 into twelve fractions with S2Ll to S2Ll2, and S2L 7, S2L8, S2L9 and S2L10 showed better bioactivity. Drosophila have been mainstays of in vivo biological research on aging. We established the pathogens free fly culturing system of D. melanogaster (Oregon R) to evaluate the drug effects of Hoshouwu. Culturing media containing Hoshouwu extends the life span of flies. One of the most important means of our studies is to clartify scientifically the effect mechanism of our traditional anti-ageing Chinese herbal medicine, Hoshouwu, by using our serum-free culturing neuronal progenitor cells and lifespan extention of Drosophila as unique tool.