Clitoria ternatea L. root extract ameliorated the cognitive and hippocampal long-term potentiation deficits induced by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in the rat

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Oct 5;224:381-390. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2018.06.020. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Clitoria ternatea L. (CT), commonly known as Butterfly pea, is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to promote brain function and treat mental disorders. Root of CT has been proven to enhance memory, but its role in an animal model of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH), which has been considered as a major cause of brain disorders, has yet to be explored.

Aim of the study: To assess the motor and cognitive effects of acute oral administration of CT root methanolic extract and hippocampal long-term plasticity in the CA1 region of the CCH rat model.

Materials and methods: Male Sprague Dawley rats (200-300 g) were subjected to permanent bilateral occlusion of common carotid arteries (PBOCCA) or sham operation. Then, these rats were given oral administration of CT root extract at doses of 100, 200 or 300 mg/kg on day 28 post-surgery and tested using behavioural tests (open-field test, passive avoidance task, and Morris water maze) and electrophysiological recordings (under urethane anaesthesia).

Results: Treatment with CT root extract at the doses of 200 and 300 mg/kg resulted in a significant enhancement in memory performance in CCH rats induced by PBOCCA. Furthermore, CCH resulted in inhibition of long-term potentiation (LTP) formation in the hippocampus, and CT root extract rescued the LTP impairment. The CT root extract was confirmed to improve the glutamate-induced calcium increase via calcium imaging using primary cultured rat neurons. No significance difference was found in the CaMKII expression. These results demonstrated that CT root extract ameliorates synaptic function, which may contribute to its improving effect on cognitive behaviour.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrated an improving effect of CT root extract on memory in the CCH rat model suggesting that CT root extract could be a potential therapeutic strategy to prevent the progression of cognitive deterioration in vascular dementia (VaD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients.

Keywords: Clitoria ternatea L.; LTP and memory; PBOCCA; VaD.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clitoria*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Long-Term Potentiation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Roots
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Calcium