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Brain Pathol. 2014 Jan;24(1):18-24. doi: 10.1111/bpa.12069. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

St. John's Wort reduces beta-amyloid accumulation in a double transgenic Alzheimer's disease mouse model-role of P-glycoprotein.

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Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.


The adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transport protein P-glycoprotein (ABCB1) is involved in the export of beta-amyloid from the brain into the blood, and there is evidence that age-associated deficits in cerebral P-glycoprotein content may be involved in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. P-glycoprotein function and expression can be pharmacologically induced by a variety of compounds including extracts of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort). To clarify the effect of St. John's Wort on the accumulation of beta-amyloid and P-glycoprotein expression in the brain, St. John's Wort extract (final hyperforin concentration 5%) was fed to 30-day-old male C57BL/6J-APP/PS1(+/-) mice over a period of 60 or 120 days, respectively. Age-matched male C57BL/6J-APP/PS1(+/-) mice receiving a St. John's Wort-free diet served as controls. Mice receiving St. John's Wort extract showed (i) significant reductions of parenchymal beta-amyloid 1-40 and 1-42 accumulation; and (ii) moderate, but statistically significant increases in cerebrovascular P-glycoprotein expression. Thus, the induction of cerebrovascular P-glycoprotein may be a novel therapeutic strategy to protect the brain from beta-amyloid accumulation, and thereby impede the progression of Alzheimer's disease.


Alzheimer's disease; P-glycoprotein; St. John's Wort; beta-amyloid; blood-brain barrier

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