2011 Volume 32 Issue 1 Pages 67-72
The mushroom Hericium erinaceus has been used as a food and herbal medicine since ancient times in East Asia. It has been reported that H. erinaceus promotes nerve growth factor secretion in vitro and in vivo. Nerve growth factor is involved in maintaining and organizing cholinergic neurons in the central nervous system. These findings suggest that H. erinaceus may be appropriate for the prevention or treatment of dementia. In the present study, we examined the effects of H. erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. Mice were administered 10 μg of amyloid β(25-35) peptide intracerebroventricularly on days 7 and 14, and fed a diet containing H. erinaceus over a 23-d experimental period. Memory and learning function was examined using behavioral pharmacological methods including the Y-maze test and the novelobject recognition test. The results revealed that H. erinaceus prevented impairments of spatial short-term and visual recognition memory induced by amyloid β(25-35) peptide. This finding indicates that H. erinaceus may be useful in the prevention of cognitive dysfunction.