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Int J Mol Sci. 2010 Jan 8;11(1):107-23. doi: 10.3390/ijms11010107.

Ginkgo biloba extract in Alzheimer's disease: from action mechanisms to medical practice.

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Department of Anatomy, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. <>


Standardized extract from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, labeled EGb761, is one of the most popular herbal supplements. Numerous preclinical studies have shown the neuroprotective effects of EGb761 and support the notion that it may be effective in the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Despite the preclinical promise, the clinical efficacy of this drug remains elusive. In this review, possible mechanisms underlying neuroprotective actions of EGb761 are described in detail, together with a brief discussion of the problem of studying this herb clinically to verify its efficacy in the treatment and prevention of AD. Moreover, various parameters e.g., the dosage and the permeability of the blood brain barrier (BBB), impacting the outcome of the clinical effectiveness of the extract are also discussed. Overall, the findings summarized in this review suggest that, a better understanding of the neuroprotective mechanisms of EGb761 may contribute to better understanding of the effectiveness and complexity of this herb and may also be helpful for design of therapeutic strategies in future clinical practice. Therefore, in future clinical studies, different factors that could interfere with the effect of EGb761 should be considered.


AD; Ginkgo biloba extract; neuroprotection

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