Dementia is a mental disorder characterized by loss of intellectual ability sufficiently severe enough to interfere with one's occupational or social activities. Desmodium gangeticum commonly known as Salparni, is widely used in ayurveda for the treatment of neurological disorders. The present work was designed to assess the potential of aqueous extract of D. gangeticum (DG) as a nootropic agent in mice. DG (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg, p.o.) was administered for 7 successive days to both young and older mice. Exteroceptive behavioral models such as elevated plus maze and passive avoidance paradigm were employed to evaluate learning and memory. Scopolamine (0.4 mg/kg, i.p.) induced amnesia and ageing induced amnesia were the interoceptive behavioral models. To delineate the mechanism by which DG exerts nootropic activity, the effect of DG on whole brain AChE activity was also assessed. Piracetam (200 mg/kg, i.p.) was used as a standard nootropic agent. Pretreatment with DG (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg p.o.) for seven successive days significantly improved learning and memory in mice and reversed the amnesia induced by both, scopolamine (0.4 mg/kg, i.p.) and natural ageing. DG also decreased whole brain acetyl cholinesterase activity. Hence, D. gangeticum appears to be a promising candidate for improving memory and it would be worthwhile to explore the potential of this plant in the management of dementia and Alzheimer disease.
2006 by the PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN