Taraxerol as a possible therapeutic agent on memory impairments and Alzheimer's disease: Effects against scopolamine and streptozotocin-induced cognitive dysfunctions

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Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with cognitive impairment and cholinergic neuronal death, characteristic of the effect of time on biochemical neuronal function. The use of medicinal plants as an alternative form of prevention, or even as a possible treatment of AD, is therefore interesting areas of research, since the standard drugs have many side effects. Taraxerol (TRX) is a triterpene that has been isolated from several plant species, and its various pharmacological properties have already been identified, such the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition activity in vitro. There is a lack of information in literature that confirms the effect of TRX in an animal AD-like model. Seeking to fill this gap in the literature, in the present work we assessed the effect of TRX on AChE activity in the animals' encephalon and hippocampus. We also investigated the effect of TRX (1.77 μM/side, 0.5 μL) isolated from leaves of Eugenia umbelliflora Berg. on aversive memory impairments induced by scopolamine (2 μg/side, 0.5 μL) infused into rat hippocampus, and the effect of TRX (0.89 and 1.77 μM/side, 0.5 μL) on aversive memory impairments induced by streptozotocin (STZ) (2.5 mg/mL, 2.0 μL) infused i.c.v. into mice, using the step-down inhibitory avoidance task. We found that TRX significantly inhibited AChE activity in the animal's hippocampus. Furthermore, TRX significantly improved scopolamine and STZ-induced memory impairment. Taking together, these results confirms its AChE activity inhibition in animals and indicate that TRX has anti-amnesic activity that may hold significant therapeutic value in alleviating certain memory impairments observed in AD.

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