The effects of lignan-riched extract of Shisandra chinensis on amyloid-β-induced cognitive impairment and neurotoxicity in the cortex and hippocampus of mouse

J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Mar 7;146(1):347-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Jan 16.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The fruits of Schisandra chinensis (Trucz.) Baill. (Schisandraceae) which have been used as a tonic especially for kidney yin deficiency in Chinese traditional medicine are recently receiving attention for its preventive activity on age-related neurodegenerative diseases. A variety of studies demonstrated the cognitive-enhancing effects of Schisandra chinensis through animal tests and also in clinical trials.

Aim of study: In this study, we attempted to investigate the effects of the lignan-riched extract of Schisandra chinensis fruits (ESP-806) on neurotoxicity and memory impairment induced by Aβ1-42 injection in mice.

Materials and methods: The fruits of Schisandra chinensis were extracted with the mixture of n-hexane:ethanol (9:1), which is riched with bioactive dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans, schizandrin, gomisin N, wuweigisu C. After oral treatment of ESP-806 (100 mg/kg body weight) followed by injection of Aβ1-42 (2 μg/mouse, i.c.v.), novel object recognition and passive avoidance tests were evaluated. To verify the cognition enhancing effects of ESP-806, we examined the effects of ESP-806 on the activities of β-secretase and acetylcholinesterase, and the contents of Aβ and the reduced glutathione within the cortex and hippocampus of Aβ-injected mice.

Results: Oral treatment of ESP-806 (100 mg/kg body weight) significantly attenuated Aβ1-42-induced memory impairment evaluated by behavioral tests. Furthermore, the treatment of ESP-806 attenuated the elevation of β-secretase activity accompanying the reduced level of Aβ1-42 in the cortex and hippocampus of the brain. ESP-806 also significantly inhibited the acetylcholinesterase activity in the hippocampus and increased the content of the reduced glutathione in the cortex and hippocampus of mouse brain.

Conclusions: These data suggested that the extract of Schisandra chinensis fruits riched with dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans may be useful in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Fruit
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Lignans / pharmacology
  • Lignans / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Recognition, Psychology / drug effects
  • Schisandra*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Lignans
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Plant Extracts
  • amyloid beta-protein (1-42)
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases
  • Glutathione