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Int J Mol Med. 2017 Jan;39(1):21-30. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2016.2804. Epub 2016 Nov 16.

Humulus japonicus inhibits the progression of Alzheimer's disease in a APP/PS1 transgenic mouse model.

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Laboratory Animal Resource Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Daejeon 305-806, Republic of Korea.
Korea Bioactive Natural Material Bank, Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.


Humulus japonicus Siebold & Zucc. (HJ) has traditionally been administered to patients with pulmonary disease, skin disease and hypertension in Korea, and it is considered to exert anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antimycobacterial effects. However, its effects against Alzheimer's disease (AD) have yet to be explored. Thus, this study was carried out to investigate whether HJ has a beneficial effect on the progression of AD in an animal model. A methanolic extract of HJ (500 mg/kg/day) was intragastrically administered to 5-month-old APP/PS1 transgenic (Tg-APP/PS1) mice for 2.5 months. Novel object recognition and Y-maze alteration tests were used to assess cognitive function, and an immunohistochemical assay was performed to assess amyloid β (Aβ)deposition, tau phosphorylation and gliosis. An in vitro assay using a microglial cell line was also performed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of HJ. Our results revealed that HJ significantly decreased the mRNA and protein expression levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF‑α), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) induced by lipopolysaccharide in the microglial cell line. The administration of HJ for 2 months improved the cognitive function of Tg-APP/PS1 mice. HJ notably reduced the area occupied by Aβ and neurofibrillary tangles, and the number of activated astrocytes and microglia in the cortex of Tg-APP/PS1 mice. The findings of our study suggest that HJ has the therapeutic potential to inhibit the progression of AD and to improve cognitive deterioration in Tg-APP/PS1 mice.

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