The ginkgo biloba extract EGb761 improves memory loss and cognitive impairments in patients with senile dementia. It also promotes proliferation of neural stem cells in the subventricular zone in Parkinson's disease model mice and in the hippocampal zone of young epileptic rats. However, it remains unclear whether EGb761 enhances proliferation of endogenous neural stem cells in the brain of rats with vascular dementia. In this study, a vascular dementia model was established by repeatedly clipping and reperfusing the bilateral common carotid arteries of rats in combination with an intraperitoneal injection of a sodium nitroprusside solution. Seven days after establishing the model, rats were intragastrically given EGb761 at 50 mg/kg per day. Learning and memory abilities were assessed using the Morris water maze and proliferation of endogenous neural stem cells in the subventricular zone and dentate gyrus were labeled by 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine immunofluorescence in all rats at 15 days, and 1, 2, and 4 months after model establishment. The escape latencies in Morris water maze tests of rats with vascular dementia after EGb761 treatment were significantly shorter than the model group. Immunofluorescence staining showed that the number and proliferation of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine-positive cells in the subventricular zone and dentate gyrus of the EGb761-treated group were significantly higher than in the model group. These experimental findings suggest that EGb761 enhances proliferation of neural stem cells in the subventricular zone and dentate gyrus, and significantly improves learning and memory in rats with vascular dementia.
Keywords: EGb761; dentate gyrus; ginkgo biloba extract; grants-supported paper; learning and memory; neural regeneration; neural stem cells; neuroregeneration; subventricular zone; traditional Chinese medicine; vascular dementia.