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Anat Sci Int. 2015 Jan;90(1):47-53. doi: 10.1007/s12565-014-0228-z. Epub 2014 Feb 11.

Effect of Boswellia serrata gum resin on the morphology of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells in aged rat.

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Department of Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Daneshjoo Blvd, 89161-88639, Yazd, Iran,


Experimental evidence indicates that administration of Boswellia resin, known as olibanum or Frankincense, increases memory power. It is reported that beta boswellic acid, the major component of Boswellia serrata gum resin, could enhance neurite outgrowth and branching in hippocampal neurons. We therefore studied whether Boswellia treatment produces morphological changes in the superior region of cornu ammonis (CA1) in aged rats. Sixteen male Wistar rats, 24 months of age, were randomly divided in experimental and control groups. The experimental group was orally administered Boswellia serrata gum resin (100 mg/kg per day for 8 weeks) and the control group received a similar volume of water. The Cavalieri principle was employed to estimate the volumes of CA1 hippocampal field, and a quantitative Golgi study was used to analysis of dendritic arborizations of CA1 pyramidal cells. Comparisons revealed that Boswellia-treated aged rats had greater volumes than control animals in stratum pyramidale and stratum radiatum lacunosum-moleculare. The neurons of CA1 in experimental rats had more dendritic segments (40.25 ± 4.20) than controls (30.9 ± 4.55), P = 0.001. The total dendritic length of CA1 neurons was approximately 20 % larger in the experimental group compared to control. Results also indicated that the aged rats treated with Boswellia resin had more numerical branching density in the apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons. The results of the present study show that long-term administration of Boswellia resin can attenuate age-related dendritic regression in CA1 pyramidal cells in rat hippocampus.

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