Ascorbic Acid: a promising memory-enhancer in mice

J Pharmacol Sci. 2003 Oct;93(2):129-35. doi: 10.1254/jphs.93.129.


Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a gradual decline in memory. The occurrence of Alzheimer's disease is commonplace among the Asian population, particularly among senior citizens. The present study was undertaken to assess the potential of ascorbic acid as a memory-enhancer. Swiss mice of either sex were employed in the present investigation. Elevated plus-maze and passive-avoidance apparatus served as the exteroceptive behavioral models, and diazepam-, scopolamine-, and aging-induced amnesia served as the interoceptive behavioral models. Ascorbic acid (60, 120 mg/kg) injected for 3 and 8 consecutive days improved learning and memory of aged mice as indicated by decreased transfer-latency and increased step-down latency. Furthermore, ascorbic acid provided protection to the young animals from scopolamine- and diazepam-induced impairment of memory. Ascorbic acid was found to be more potent than piracetam as reflected by the smaller dose, more pronounced effect, and quicker onset of action. Ascorbic acid has shown promise as a powerful memory-improving agent particularly effective in aged animals. Hence, ascorbic acid might prove to be a useful memory-restorative agent in the treatment of dementia seen in elderly individuals. The underlying mechanism of action of ascorbic acid may be attributed to its antioxidant property.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology
  • Amnesia / chemically induced
  • Amnesia / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Diazepam
  • Emotions / drug effects
  • Female
  • GABA Modulators
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology
  • Piracetam / pharmacology
  • Scopolamine


  • Antioxidants
  • GABA Modulators
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Scopolamine
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Diazepam
  • Piracetam