Biomol Ther.  2015 Nov;23(6):571-581. 10.4062/biomolther.2015.027.

Effect of Beta-Asarone on Impairment of Spatial Working Memory and Apoptosis in the Hippocampus of Rats Exposed to Chronic Corticosterone Administration

  • 1Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea.
  • 2The Graduate School of Basic Science of Korean Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea.


beta-asarone (BAS) is an active component of Acori graminei rhizoma, a traditional medicine used clinically in treating dementia and chronic stress in Korea. However, the cognitive effects of BAS and its mechanism of action have remained elusive. The purpose of this study was to examine whether BAS improved spatial cognitive impairment induced in rats following chronic corticosterone (CORT) administration. CORT administration (40 mg/kg, i.p., 21 days) resulted in cognitive impairment in the avoidance conditioning test (AAT) and the Morris water maze (MWM) test that was reversed by BAS (200 mg/kg, i.p). Additionally, as assessed by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR analysis, the administration of BAS significantly alleviated memory-associated decreases in the expression levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) proteins and mRNAs in the hippocampus. Also, BAS administration significantly restored the expression of Bax and Bcl-2 mRNAs in the hippocampus. Thus, BAS may be an effective therapeutic for learning and memory disturbances, and its neuroprotective effect was mediated, in part, by normalizing the CORT response, resulting in regulation of BDNF and CREB functions and anti-apoptosis in rats.


beta-asarone; Memory; Corticosterone; Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; cAMP-response element-binding protein; Apoptosis
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