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Pharmacopsychiatry. 1996 Jul;29(4):144-9.

Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) independently improves changes in passive avoidance learning and brain membrane fluidity in the aging mouse.

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Central Institute for Mental Health, Section Psychopharmacology, Mannheim, Germany.


Decreases in cell membrane fluidity may be a major mechanism of age-related functional decline. A prime cause for the decline of membrane fluidity may be the presence of free radicals. Gingko biloba extract EGb 761 protects neuronal cell membranes from free radical damage in vitro. Further, EGb 761 has repeatedly been shown to improve cognitive functions in man and in laboratory animals. To test if there is a link between these two actions we assessed the effects of EGb 761 on passive avoidance learning and on neuronal membrane fluidity in vivo in young (three-month-old), middle-aged (12-month-old) and aged (22 to 24-month-old) female NMRI mice. The animals were treated daily with 100 mg/kg EGb 761 for three weeks. There was a significant improvement in short-term memory, measured by the avoidance latency 60 seconds after the aversive stimulus (p < 0.0311), and of membrane fluidity (p < 0.01) in the aged animals, but no improvement in long-term memory as measured by the avoidance latency 24 hours after shock. However, no significant correlation between membrane fluidity and short-term memory performance was found. Taken together, these results indicate that EGb 761 independently improves changes in passive avoidance learning and brain membrane fluidity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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