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Phytomedicine. 2010 Oct;17(12):950-5. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.03.007. Epub 2010 Apr 9.

Protective effects of icariin on brain dysfunction induced by lipopolysaccharide in rats.

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Department of Pharmacology, Zunyi Medical College, 201 Dalian Road, Zunyi 563003, PR China.


In this study we examined the protective effects of icariin, a flavonol isolated from Herba epimedii, on learning and memory in a rat model with brain inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Injecting LPS into the lateral ventricle caused rat brain dysfunction, as evidenced by deficits of spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze. With administration of icariin (30, 60, 120mg/kg body wt./day) for 17 consecutive days, spatial learning and memory abilities were markedly altered. Escape latency and searching distance decreased, and the expressions of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) of brain were significantly reduced as observed by real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. This study used ibuprofen (40mg/kg body wt./day) as positive control. In conclusion, this study suggested that icariin can improve spatial learning and memory abilities in rats with brain dysfunction induced by LPS, an effect which may be due to decreased expressions of TNF-α, IL-1β and COX-2 in the hippocampus.

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