Damaged neuronal energy metabolism and behavior are improved by Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761)

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 1999;106(11-12):1171-88. doi: 10.1007/s007020050232.


The standardized extract EGb 761 from the dried green leaves of Ginkgo biloba is a complex mixture of ingredients with an uniquely broad spectrum of pharmacological activities on the central nervous system e.g. in memory enhancing properties and in the regulation of cerebral glucose/energy metabolism. To test these effects on both behavioral and metabolic brain parameters, the animal model of intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) streptozotocin (STZ) treatment was used. To quantify the experimental data more precisely, animals that were good performers were separated from poor performers by means of the holeboard test before i.c.v. administration of STZ. Good performers only were considered for the study. After a 1-week training period on the holeboard improvement was seen in all animals in learning, memory and cognition, and the improvement was maintained over the investigation period of 12 weeks in the control group. In this group, the energy pool in the cerebral parietotemporal cortex was found to be large and the energy turnover high. After triplicate i.c.v. STZ injection, working memory (WM), reference memory (RM), and passive avoidance (PA) behavior fell off and continued to deteriorate throughout the investigation period. Otherwise there were no significant differences in locomotor activity, excluding the possibility that activity per se might have contributed to the behavioral abnormalities. These were accompanied by a permanent deficit in cerebral energy metabolism. The ongoing deterioration in behavior and the maintained deficit in cerebral energy metabolism occurring after a triplicate i.c.v. STZ injection were significantly slowed down by EGb761. The deficits in learning, memory and cognition were partially compensated, and the disturbances in cerebral energy metabolism returned to almost completely normal values. These findings underscore the beneficial effect of EGb761 that had been reported in dementia disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Ginkgo biloba*
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Nerve Degeneration / chemically induced
  • Nerve Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Psychometrics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Streptozocin


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Flavonoids
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • Streptozocin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate