Kaempferia parviflora is a herbal plant whose rhizomes are used in traditional medicine. Investigations of this plant have shown it to have antidepressant activity and to improve learning and memory in animal models. The aim of the present investigation was to determine whether K. parviflora could protect the brain from the impairments in cognition and hippocampal neurogenesis which are caused by valproic acid (VPA). Male Sprague Dawley rats (180-200g) were given once daily K. parviflora extract (100mg/kg) via oral gavage for 21 days. Rats received twice daily intraperitoneal injections of valproic acid (300mg/kg) from days 8 to 21 of the experiment. Spatial memory was tested using the novel object location (NOL) test five days after the end of treatment. Cell proliferation in the sub granular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus was quantified by immunohistochemistry and levels of doublecortin (DCX) were determined by Western blotting. Co-treatment of VPA and K. parviflora prevented the cognitive decline and reduction in proliferating cells caused by VPA. Furthermore, co-treatment significantly increased DCX protein levels within the hippocampus. These findings demonstrate that K. parviflora is able to prevent the brain from VPA-induced the impairments of spatial memory and proliferating cells within the SGZ.
Keywords: Hippocampus; Kaempferia parviflora; Neurogenesis; Spatial memory; Valproic acid.
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