Effects of EGb 761 Ginkgo biloba extract on mitochondrial function and oxidative stress

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2003 Jun;36 Suppl 1:S15-23. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-40449.


As major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial structures are exposed to high concentrations of ROS and may therefore be particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Mitochondrial damage could play a pivotal role in the cell death decision. A decrease in mitochondrial energy charge and redox state, loss of transmembrane potential (depolarization), mitochondrial respiratory chain impairment, and release of substances such as calcium and cytochrome c all contribute to apoptosis. These mitochondrial abnormalities may constitute a part of the spectrum of chronic oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease. Accumulation of amyloid beta (Abeta) in form of senile plaques is also thought to play a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease mediated by oxidative stress. In addition, increasing evidence shows that Abeta generates free radicals in vitro, which mediate the toxicity of this peptide. In our study, PC12 cells were used to examine the protective features of EGb 761(definition see editorial) on mitochondria stressed with hydrogen peroxide and antimycin, an inhibitor of complex III. In addition, we investigated the efficacy of EGb 761 in Abeta-induced MTT reduction in PC12 cells. Moreover, we examined the effects of EGb 761 on ROS levels and ROS-induced apoptosis in lymphocytes from aged mice after in vivo administration. Here, we will report that EGb 761 was able to protect mitochondria from the attack of hydrogen peroxide, antimycin and Abeta. Furthermore, EGb 761 reduced ROS levels and ROS-induced apoptosis in lymphocytes from aged mice treated orally with EGb 761 for 2 weeks. Our data further emphasize neuroprotective properties of EGb 761, such as protection against Abeta-toxicity, and antiapoptotic properties, which are probably due to its preventive effects on mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Animals
  • Antimycin A / analogs & derivatives*
  • Antimycin A / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Interactions
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Time Factors


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • antimycin
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • Antimycin A
  • Hydrogen Peroxide