Background: Medicinal plants, owing to their different mechanisms such as antioxidants effects, may improve learning and memory impairments in diabetic rats. Calendula officinalis (CO), has a significant antioxidant activity.
Aims: To examine the effect of hydroalcoholic extract of CO on passive avoidance learning (PAL) and memory in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic male rats.
Settings and design: A total of 32 adult male Wistar rats were randomly allocated to four groups: Control, diabetic, control + extract of CO and diabetic control + extract of CO groups with free access to regular rat diet.
Subjects and methods: Diabetes in diabetic rats was induced by single intraperitoneal injection of 60 mg/kg STZ. After confirmation of diabetes, oral administration of 300 mg/kg CO extract to extract-treated groups have been done. PAL was tested 8 weeks after onset of treatment, and blood glucose and body weight were measured in all groups at the beginning and end of the experiment.
Statistical analysis used: The statistical analysis of data was performed by ANOVA followed by least significant difference post-hoc analysis.
Results: Diabetes decreased learning and memory. Effect of CO extract in retention test (after 24 and 48 h) has been shown a significant decrease in step-through latency and increase in time spent in the dark compartment part. Also the extract partially improved hyperglycemia and reduced body weight.
Conclusion: Taken together, CO extract can improve PAL and memory impairments in STZ-diabetic rats. This improvement may be due to its antioxidant, anticholinergic activities or its power to reduce hyperglycemia.
Keywords: Calendula officinalis; diabetes mellitus; learning; memory; passive avoidance.