The effect of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera Linn. was assessed on rat brain frontal cortical, striatal and hippocampal superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activities, following administration for 7, 14 or 21 days. The effects induced by this extract (bacoside A content 82% +/- 0.5%), administered in doses of 5 and 10 mg/kg, orally, were compared with the effects induced by (-) deprenyl (2 mg/kg, p. o.) administered for the same time periods. Bacopa monniera (BM) induced a dose-related increase in SOD, CAT and GPX activities, in all the brain regions investigated, after 14 and 21 days of drug administration. On the contrary, deprenyl induced an increase in SOD, CAT and GPX activities in the frontal cortex and striatum, but not in the hippocampus, after treatment for 14 or 21 days. The results suggest that BM, like deprenyl, exhibits a significant antioxidant effect after subchronic administration which, unlike the latter, extends to the hippocampus as well. The results suggest that the increase in oxidative free radical scavenging activity by BM may explain, at least in part, the cognition- facilitating action of BM, recorded in Ayurvedic texts, and demonstrated experimentally and clinically.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.