Bangle (Zingiber purpureum) is a tropical ginger that is used as a spice in Southeast Asia. Phenylbutenoid dimers isolated from Bangle have exhibited neurotrophic effects in primary cultured rat cortical neurons and PC12 cells. Furthermore, chronic treatment with phenylbutenoid dimers enhances hippocampal neurogenesis in olfactory bulbectomized mice. In this study, we investigated the effects of Bangle extract on behavior and hippocampal neurogenesis in vivo. SAMP8 mice, which are an established model for accelerated aging, with age-related learning and memory impairments, were given a Bangle-containing diet for 1 month, and subsequent behavioral tests and immunohistochemistry for Ki67, a proliferating cell marker, were performed. We found that the Bangle-containing diet improved spatial learning and memory deficits in the Morris water maze and significantly increased the numbers of Ki67-positive cells in the dentate gyrus of the SAMP8 mice. In addition, the Bangle extract exhibited a neurotrophin-like activity as indicated by the induction of neurite sprouting in PC12 cells. Our results suggest that Bangle is beneficial for the prevention of age-related progression of cognitive impairment.
Keywords: Bangle (Zingiber purpureum); Ki67; SAMP8; neurogenesis; neurotrophic activity; spatial learning and memory.