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Free Radic Res. 2014 Sep;48(9):1049-60. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2014.920954. Epub 2014 Jul 21.

Ergothioneine and melatonin attenuate oxidative stress and protect against learning and memory deficits in C57BL/6J mice treated with D-galactose.

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Department of Health Food, Chung Chou University of Science and Technology , Changhua , Taiwan.


Male C57BL/6J mice treated with D-galactose (DG) were used to examine the effects of ergothioneine (EGT), melatonin (MEL), or their combination (EGT+MEL) on learning and memory abilities. The mice were divided into five groups and injected subcutaneously with DG (0.3 mL of 1% DG/mouse) except for group 1 (normal controls). Group 3 was orally supplemented with EGT [0.5 mg/kg body weight (bw)], group 4 with MEL (10 mg/kg bw, p.o.), and group 5 with EGT+MEL. EGT and MEL were provided daily for 88 days, while DG was provided between days 7 to 56. Active avoidance task and Morris water-maze task were used to evaluate learning and memory abilities. DG treatment markedly increased escape latency and decreased the number of avoidance in the active avoidance test, whereas EGT and MEL alone significantly improved the performance. DG also impaired the learning and memory abilities in the water-maze task, and EGT and MEL alone also significantly improved the performance. EGT+MEL produced the strongest effects in both tasks. EGT and MEL alone markedly decreased β-amyloid protein accumulation in the hippocampus and significantly inhibited lipid peroxidation and maintained glutathione/glutathione disulfide ratio and superoxide dismutase activity in brain tissues of DG-treated mice. MEL alone completely prevented the rise in brain acetylcholine esterase activity induced by DG, whereas EGT and EGT+MEL were only partially effective. Overall, EGT, MEL, and, in particular, the combination of EGT and MEL effectively protect against learning and memory deficits in C57BL/6J mice treated with DG, possibly through attenuation of oxidative damage.


Alzheimer's disease; D-galactose; ergothioneine; learning and memory; melatonin

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