Role of Ginkgo biloba extract as an adjunctive treatment of elderly patients with depression and on the expression of serum S100B

Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Sep;97(39):e12421. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000012421.


Objective: To explore the effect of ginkgo biloba extract (EGb) as an adjunctive treatment of elderly patients with depression and the effect on the expression of serum S100B.

Methods: 136 elderly patients with depression were divided into EGb + citalopram (Cit) group and Cit group equally. Efficacy was evaluated by Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD). Wisconsin Card Classification Test (WCST) was used to evaluate cognitive function. Serum S100B expression was measured with ELISA. The relationship of S100B with HAMD, Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) score, and WCST results was evaluated subsequently.

Results: The time of onset of efficacy was significantly shorter in EGb + Cit group. There were significant differences in HAMD and HAMA scores after treatment than before treatment between groups (all P < .05). After treatment, total number of WCST test, the number of continuous errors and non-persistent errors in both groups were less than those before treatment. The correct number and classifications number were increased than before treatment. In EGb + Cit group, correct numbers and classifications were increased, and the number of persistent errors was decreased. After treatment, S100B level was decreased, and S100B levels change in EGb + Cit group was greater than in Cit group. Serum S100B level was positively correlated with HAMD and HAMA scores before treatment and positively correlated with persistent errors number in WCST.

Conclusion: EGb, as an adjunctive treatment, can effectively improve depressive symptoms and reduce expression of serum S100B, which is a marker of brain injury, suggesting that EGb restores neurologic function during the treatment of depression in elderly patients and S100B participates in the therapeutic mechanism. EGb combined with depressive drugs plays synergistic role, and the time of onset of efficacy is faster than single antidepressants.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / methods*
  • Citalopram / administration & dosage
  • Citalopram / therapeutic use
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit / blood*
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit / drug effects
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Plant Extracts
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit
  • S100B protein, human
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Citalopram
  • Ginkgo biloba extract