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Phytother Res. 2018 Jun;32(6):1056-1063. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6044. Epub 2018 Feb 22.

Neuroprotective effects of 20(S)-protopanaxatriol (PPT) on scopolamine-induced cognitive deficits in mice.

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Research Center for Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development (IMPLAD), Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), and Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), Beijing, 100193, China.
Institute of Food Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing, 100193, China.
Affiliated TCM Hospital/School of Pharmacy/Sino-Portugal TCM International Cooperation Center, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, 646000, China.
National Laboratory of Human Factors Engineering/The State Key Laboratory of Space Medicine Fundamentals and Application, China Astronaut Research and Training Center, Beijing, 100094, China.


20(S)-protopanaxatriol (PPT), one of the ginsenosides from Panax ginseng, has been reported to have neuroprotective effects and to improve memory. The present study was designed to investigate the protective effect of PPT on scopolamine-induced cognitive deficits in mice. Male Institute of Cancer Research mice were pretreated with 2 different doses of PPT (20 and 40 μmol/kg) for 27 days by intraperitoneal injection, and scopolamine (0.75 mg/kg) was injected intraperitoneally for 9 days to induce memory impairment. Thirty minutes after the last pretreatment, the locomotor activity was firstly examined to evaluate the motor function of mice. Then, memory-related behaviors were evaluated, and the related mechanism was further researched. It was founded that PPT treatment significantly reversed scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment in the object location recognition experiment, the Morris water maze test, and the passive avoidance task, showing memory-improving effects. PPT also significantly improved cholinergic system reactivity and suppressed oxidative stress, indicated by inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity, elevation of acetylcholine levels, increasing superoxide dismutase activity and lowering levels of malondialdehyde in the hippocampus. In addition, the expression levels of Egr-1, c-Jun, and cAMP responsive element binding in the hippocampus were significantly elevated by PPT administration. These results suggest that PPT may be a potential drug candidate for the treatment of cognitive deficit in Alzheimer's disease.


20(S)-protopanaxatriol (PPT); cholinergic function; cognitive deficits; oxidative stress; scopolamine

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