Puerarin attenuates amyloid-beta-induced cognitive impairment through suppression of apoptosis in rat hippocampus in vivo.Eur J Pharmacol 2010; 649(1-3):195-201EJ
Elevated levels of β-amyloid (Aβ) in the brains being a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease have been believed to play a critical role in the cognitive dysfunction that occurs in Alzheimer's disease. Recent evidence suggests that Aβ induces neuronal apoptosis in the brain and in primary neuronal cultures. In this study, we investigated the effects of puerarin, a phytoestrogen isolated from Pueraria lobata, on cognitive function and neuronal apoptosis in the intrahippocampal injection of Aβ rats and its mechanism of action. The results show the intrahippocampal injection of Aβ induced a spatial memory deficit, apoptosis, and caspase-9 activation in hippocampal neurons. Puerarin treatment ameliorated Aβ(1-42)-induced cognitive impairment and reversed the increase of apoptosis in the hippocampus. The attenuation is associated with the activation of Akt and phosphorylation of Bad. These results suggest that puerarin may be an anti-Alzheimer's disease candidate drug to suppress both Alzheimer's disease-related neuronal cell apoptosis and dysfunction of the memory system.