- Achillolide A is a natural sesquiterpene lactone that we have previously shown can inhibit microglial activation. In this study we present evidence for its beneficial effects on astrocytes under oxidative stress, a situation relevant to neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries. Viability of brain astrocytes (primary cultures) was determined by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, intracellular ROS levels were detected using 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein diacetate, in vitro antioxidant activity was measured by differential pulse voltammetry, and protein phosphorylation was determined using specific ELISA kits. We have found that achillolide A prevented the H2O2-induced death of astrocytes, and attenuated the induced intracellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These activities could be attributed to the inhibition of the H2O2-induced phosphorylation of MAP/ERK kinase 1 (MEK1) and p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), and to the antioxidant activity of achillolide A, but not to H2O2 scavenging. This is the first study that demonstrates its protective effects on brain astrocytes, and its ability to interfere with MAPK activation. We propose that achillolide A deserves further evaluation for its potential to be developed as a drug for the prevention/treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and brain injuries where oxidative stress is part of the pathophysiology.