The Mechanism of Memory Enhancement of Acteoside (Verbascoside) in the Senescent Mouse Model Induced by a Combination of D-gal and AlCl3

Phytother Res. 2015 Aug;29(8):1137-44. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5358. Epub 2015 Apr 21.


Acteoside (verbsacoside), one of the main active phenylethanoid glycosides from Cistanche deserticola, is known to have antioxidant and neuroprotective activity, and herbs containing it are used to enhance memory. However, there is relatively little direct experimental evidence to support the use of acteoside in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The purpose of this study was to elucidate the effects of acteoside in improving learning and memory, using a mouse model of senescence induced by a combination of d-galactose and AlCl3 , and investigate its potential mechanisms compared with the positive controls vitamin E and piracetam. Acteoside was administered intragastrically at doses of 30, 60 and 120 mg/kg/day for 30 days after AD was induced. Memory function was evaluated using a step-down test. The number of neuron was analysed by haematoxylin and eosin staining and the number of Nissl bodies by Nissl staining. The expression of caspase-3 protein in hippocampus was detected by immunohistochemistry and western blot. Nitric oxide and total nitric oxide synthase level in hippocampus were also assessed. Our results showed that the latency of step down was shortened in AD model mice and the number of errors decreased after treatment with all doses of acteoside. Neurons and Nissl bodies in the hippocampus were increased significantly with higher doses (60 and 120 mg/kg/day) of acteoside. The content of nitric oxide, the activity of nitric oxide synthase and the expression of caspase-3 protein were decreased by 120 mg/kg/day acteoside compared with that of the AD model group. Our results support the results obtained previously using the Morris maze test in the same mouse model of senescence, and the use of traditional medicinal herbs containing acteoside for neuroprotection and memory loss.

Keywords: AlCl3; Alzheimer's disease; Cistanche deserticola; acteoside; caspase-3; d-gal; mouse; nitric oxide; nitric oxide synthase; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Chlorides
  • Cistanche / chemistry
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Galactose
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology


  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Antioxidants
  • Chlorides
  • Glucosides
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Phenols
  • Vitamin E
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • acteoside
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Casp3 protein, mouse
  • Caspase 3
  • Galactose