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Brain Res. 2001 Dec 20;922(2):282-92.

Neuroprotective effects of bilobalide, a component of the Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761), in gerbil global brain ischemia.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, MSTF 5-34, 685 West Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


The neuroprotective effect of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) against ischemic injury has been demonstrated in animal models. In this study, we compared the protective effect of bilobalide, a purified terpene lactone from EGb 761, and EGb 761 against ischemic injury. We measured neuronal loss and the levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-encoded cytochrome oxidase (COX) subunit III mRNA in vulnerable hippocampal regions of gerbils. At 7 days of reperfusion after 5 min of transient global forebrain ischemia, a significant increase in neuronal death and a significant decrease in COX III mRNA were observed in the hippocampal CA1 neurons. Oral administration of EGb 761 at 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg/day and bilobalide at 3 and 6 mg/kg/day for 7 days before ischemia progressively protected CA1 neurons from death and from ischemia-induced reductions in COX III mRNA. In addition, both bilobalide and EGb 761 protected against ischemia-induced reductions in COX III mRNA in CA1 neurons prior to their death, at 1 day of reperfusion. These results suggest that oral administration of bilobalide and EGb 761 protect against ischemia-induced neuron death and reductions in mitochondrial gene expression.

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