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Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Sep;29(9):1892-6.

Characterization of anti-neurodegenerative effects of Polygala tenuifolia in Abeta(25-35)-treated cortical neurons.

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Division of Biofunctional Evaluation, Research Center for Ethnomedicine, Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama, Toyoma, Japan.


Although Polygala tenuifolia WILLD (PT) was classically mentioned as an anti-dementia drug in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine, basic research showed only enhancement of the cholinergic function. In Alzheimer's disease, neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss occur prior to neuronal death event, and may be the first trigger of the memory impairment. Therefore, we studied effects of Polygala tenuifolia WILLD (PT) on Abeta(25-35)-induced neuronal damage using rat cortical neurons for characterization of activities of PT under Abeta-induced neuronal damage. Treatment with the water extract of PT enhanced axonal length dose-dependently after Abeta(25-35)-induced axonal atrophy. However, dendritic atrophy and synaptic loss induced by Abeta(25-35) were not recovered by treatment with PT extract. In contrast, Abeta(25-35)-induced cell damage was completely inhibited by PT extract. By characterization of PT effects on neuronal morphological plasticity and cell damage, usefulness as well as an insufficiency of PT as an anti-dementia drug was clarified.

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