PSAPP mice expressing the 'Swedish' amyloid precursor protein and the M146L presenilin 1 mutations are a well-characterized model for spontaneous amyloid beta plaque formation. Centella asiatica has a long history of use in India as a memory enhancing drug in Ayurvedic literature. The study investigated whether Centella asiatica extract (CaE) can alter the amyloid pathology in PSAPP mice by administering CaE (2.5 or 5.0 g/kg/day) starting at 2 months of age prior to the onset of detectable amyloid deposition and continued for either 2 months or 8 months. A significant decrease in amyloid beta 1-40 and 1-42 was detectable by ELISA following an 8 month treatment with 2.5 mg/kg of CaE. A reduction in Congo Red stained fibrillar amyloid plaques was detected with the 5.0 mg/kg CaE dose and long-term treatment regimen. It was also confirmed that CaE functions as an antioxidant in vitro, scavenging free radicals, reducing lipid peroxidation and protecting against DNA damage. The data indicate that CaE can impact the amyloid cascade altering amyloid beta pathology in the brains of PSAPP mice and modulating components of the oxidative stress response that has been implicated in the neurodegenerative changes that occur with Alzheimer's disease.
Copyright 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.