The aim of this study was to explore the neuroprotective effects of active compounds from Schisandra chinensis (Trucz.) Baill. (Magnoliaceae) against the D-galactose (D-gal)-induced neurotoxicity in rat. The Wistar rats were subcutaneously injected with D-gal (150 mg/(kg day)) for six weeks and orally administered with water extract or 95 % ethanol extract (partitioned with petroleum ether (PE), chloroform (CF), ethyl acetate (EA) and n-Butanol (NB), respectively) of the fruits of Schisandra chinensis simultaneously. The alteration of cognitive functions was assessed by using Morris water maze and Step-down type passive avoidance test. The results demonstrated that PE fraction was the most effective fraction to ameliorate cognitive deficits. Further biochemical examination indicated that PE could attenuate the activities decreasing of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), the total antioxidant (T-AOC) induced by D-gal, and maintain the normal levels of glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) in the serum, prefrontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus of the brain of related rat, selectively. Meanwhile, the compounds of PE fraction were also identified as mainly lignans, thus, these results suggest that lignans from the PE fraction of Schisandra chinensis represented a potential source of medicine for the treatment of the aging-associated neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: Brain oxidative damage; Cognition deficits; D-galactose; Lignans; Schisandra chinensis.