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Phytomedicine. 2011 Feb 15;18(4):327-33. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.07.013. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

The Amazonian herbal Marapuama attenuates cognitive impairment and neuroglial degeneration in a mouse Alzheimer model.

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Laboratório de Etnofarmacologia, Instituto de Ciências Básicas da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Sarmento Leite 500, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is expected to affect more than 22 million people worldwide by 2025, causing devastating suffering and enormous costs to families and society. AD is a multifactorial disease, with a complex pathological mosaic. In rodents, AD-like dementia can be induced by cerebral microinjection of Aβ peptide, leading to amyloid deposits, amnesia and various features of neurodegeneration. Marapuama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) is regarded as a "brain tonic" in the Amazon region and shows a nootropic profile in rodents.


Because a specific extract (POEE) of Marapuama was shown to possess promnesic and anti-amnesic properties, the aim of this study was to verify if POEE is also effective against Aβ(1-42)-induced cognitive deficit in mice. Additionally, Aβ deposits (Congo red), GFAP immunoreactivity (immunohistochemistry), and neurodegenerative changes in the hippocampal pyramidal layer (Nissl) were examined as measures of Aβ(1-42)-induced neurodegeneration.


CF1 mice were subjected to the experimental Alzheimer model with the Aβ(1-42) i.c.v. administration. The effects of POEE 800 mg/kg were evaluated over 14 consecutive days of treatment.


The data show that 14 days of oral treatment with POEE (800 mg/kg) was effective in preventing Aβ-induced cognitive impairment, without altering the levels of BDNF and with parallel reductions in Aβ deposits and astrogliosis. CA1 hippocampus loss induced by Aβ(1-42) was also diminished in POEE-treated mice.


This study offers evidence of functional and neuroprotective effects of two weeks treatment with a Ptychopetalum olacoides extract against Aβ peptide-induced neurotoxicity in mice. Given the multifactorial nature of neurodegeneration, the considerable potential for an AChE inhibitor displaying associated neuroprotective properties such as here reported warrants further clinic evaluation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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