In vitro screening on amyloid precursor protein modulation of plants used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for memory improvement

J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jun 1;141(2):754-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.08.065. Epub 2011 Sep 6.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The 15 herbs for the screening have been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine or in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for the treatment of cognitive disorders clinically.

Aim of the study: Fifteen plant species were investigated for the inhibition of amyloid peptide (Aβ) production and modulation of amyloid precursor protein (APP) processing.

Materials and methods: The selected plants were extracted successively with 70% ethyl alcohol and absolute alcohol concentrated with rotary evaporation then lyophilized. Using a mouse neuroblastoma cells expressing Swedish APP (N2a-SweAPP), MTT assay was performed to determine the toxicity concentration of each herbal extract. In order to evaluate the activity of ethanol extracts on Aβ inhibition, the N2a-SweAPP cells were treated with a high and low dosage of different extracts for 24h, Aβs levels in the supernatant of conditioned media were assessed by ELISA. The most active extracts were then subjected to test the effect on APP modulation in N2a-SweAPP cells by determining their effect on sAPPα and sAPPβ through western blot analysis.

Results: Among the screened herbal extracts, only Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (root) and Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy. (leaves) showed profound inhibition of Aβ production. MTT assay demonstrated that the anti-Aβ effect of these extracts was not a sequential consequence of their cytotoxicity. The extract of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (root) could reduce Aβ production only through APP modulation, which was exhibited together with the up-regulation of sAPPα and down-regulation of sAPPβ.

Conclusion: The results show that extract of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (root) can lower Aβ generation by modulating APP processing in the N2a-SwedAPP cell line. These results corroborate the traditional use of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (root) for the treatment of cognitive disorders including Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Convolvulus* / chemistry
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / isolation & purification
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / toxicity
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic*
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nootropic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Nootropic Agents / toxicity
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plant Roots
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Polygonum* / chemistry
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • Transfection
  • Withania* / chemistry


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Solvents
  • Ethanol