The effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on cognitive functions in aged female rats: the role of oxidative stress and brain-derived neurotrophic factor

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Feb 1;278:453-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.10.032. Epub 2014 Oct 30.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) on cognitive functions as well as oxidative stress and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in aged female rats. Rats were divided into 4 groups according to age (young vs. aged) and treatment (GBE vs. vehicle). GBE or vehicle was given for 30 d, and a series of behavioral tests were performed. Following behavioral testing, blood samples and brain tissues were obtained for analysis of BDNF, malondialdehyde (MDA), 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), and glutathione levels, and superoxide dismutase activity. Locomotor activity and anxiety levels were lower in the aged rats. Based on Morris water maze probe trial findings, GBE supplementation increased the number of platform crossings in the aged rats. MDA and 8-OHdG levels were lower in the brain tissue, and BDNF levels were higher in plasma in the rates treated with GBE. Based on these findings, we concluded that GBE supplementation improved cognitive functions by decreasing oxidative damage and increasing the BDNF level in aged female rats.

Keywords: Aging; BDNF; Cognitive function; Ginkgo biloba; Memory; Oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / blood
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry*
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Plant Extracts
  • Malondialdehyde
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Deoxyguanosine
  • Glutathione