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Bioorg Med Chem. 2009 Jan 15;17(2):867-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2008.11.034. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory guided fractionation of Melissa officinalis L.

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Division of Pharmaceutical Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki, PO Box 56 (Viikinkaari 5E), Helsinki FIN-00014, Finland.


The plant Melissa officinalis L. has been used traditionally in the treatment of cognitive dysfunction. Based on its traditional medicinal use, it was assessed for its clinical efficacy in mild to moderate Alzheimer's patients. The plant was effective in the management of the disease. Therefore, based on this result, a similar plant extract was prepared in order to be screened for bioactivities which are relevant in Alzheimer's disease therapy. The extract was recently screened for antioxidant activity and it showed a wide range of antioxidant properties. Another important bioactivity is acetylcholinesterase inhibition, which the extract was screened for in the current investigation. The extract was capable of inhibiting the enzyme in a time and dose-dependent manner. Activity of the extract at 10 min was estimated as 1.72+/-0.16 microg equivalents of physostigmine/mg of the extract. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory guided fractionation of the extract was then carried out. Most of the fractions showed inhibitory activity and were more potent than the extract. The contents of the most potent fraction were identified as cis- and trans-rosmarinic acid isomers and a rosmarinic acid derivative using LC-DAD-ESI-MS and NMR methods.

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