Ginkgo Biloba extract 761 (EGb 761) is a patented and well-defined mixture of active compounds extracted from Ginkgo biloba leaves. This extract contains two main groups of active compounds, flavonoids (24%) and terpenoids (6%). EGb 761 is used clinically to treat dementia and vaso-occlusive and cochleovestibular disorders. This extract has neuroprotective effects, exerted probably by means of its antioxidant function. Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects 2% of the population older than 60 y. It produces a progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons and depletion of dopamine (DA), leading to movement impairment. The production of reactive oxygen species, which act as mediators of oxidative damage, is linked to PD. This disease is routinely treated with the DA precursor, L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine. However, this produces severe side effects, and its neurotoxic properties can be due to a free radical production. Thus, administration of antioxidant drugs might be used to prevent neuronal death produced by oxidative mechanisms. The use of synthetic antioxidants has decreased because of their suspected activity as carcinogenic promoters. We describe the studies related to the antioxidant effect of EGb 761 in an animal model of PD. It has been shown that EGb761 can provide a neuroprotective/neurorecovery effect against the damage to midbrain DA neurons in an animal model of PD. EGb 761 also has been found to lessen the impairment of locomotion, correlating with an increase of DA and other morphologic and biochemical parameters related to its antioxidant effect in an animal model of PD. These studies suggest it as an alternative in the future treatment of PD.
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