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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Nov 26;2018:7218504. doi: 10.1155/2018/7218504. eCollection 2018.

Effect of Fermented Spirulina maxima Extract on Cognitive-Enhancing Activities in Mice with Scopolamine-Induced Dementia.

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Department of Biomedical Materials Engineering, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 200-701, Republic of Korea.
The Jeju International Marine Science Center for Research & Education, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), Ansan, Republic of Korea.
Department of Food Science and Engineering, Seowon University, Cheongju, 361-742, Republic of Korea.


This work provides the first demonstration that Spirulina maxima extract fermented with the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus planetarium HY-08 has the ability to ameliorate scopolamine-induced memory impairment in mice. The fermented extract exhibited good cognitive-enhancing activities, as demonstrated through Morris water maze and passive avoidance experiments: in these tests, the mice administered the fermented extract at a dose of 400 mg/kg exhibited an escape latency time and a latency time of 88.5 and 76.0 sec, respectively, whereas those administered donepezil, which was used as a positive control, showed an escape latency time and a latency time of 81.3 and 83.3 sec, respectively. However, an extract of 200 mg/kg was considered economically feasible for maintaining relatively high memory-improving activities because only a slight difference in activities was found between 200 and 400 mg/kg. The study also provides the first demonstration that β-carotene, one of the major bioactive substances in S. maxima, has memory-enhancing activity. A detailed analysis of the mechanism for the cognitive-enhancing activities of the fermented extract revealed that the fermented extract effectively increased the phosphorylation of both extracellular signal-regulated kinases (p-ERK) and p-cAMP response element-binding protein (p-CREB) and sequentially upregulated the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), whose signaling pathway responds to a reduction in oxidative stress in the brain. The results indicate that the improved efficacy of the fermented extract was likely due to the synergistic effects of β-carotene and other bioactive substances. Therefore, it can be concluded that the fermented extract exerts memory-improving effects in the hippocampus of scopolamine-treated mice through an initial increase in ERK signaling and a sequential induction of the expression of p-CREB and BDNF, and these effects are related to the antioxidant activities of β-carotene and other components.

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