A multi-parameter evaluation of the neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing effects of Origanum onites L. (Turkish Oregano) essential oil on scopolamine-induced amnestic rats

Metab Brain Dis. 2022 Apr;37(4):1041-1055. doi: 10.1007/s11011-022-00933-6. Epub 2022 Feb 24.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive deterioration of cognitive functions (dementia) and represents a growing public health concern since the population in the age groups at risk is increasing. The latter raises an urgent need to translate research findings in the basic brain and behavioral sciences into anti-AD drugs and disease-modifying therapies. Origanum onites (L.), also called Turkish oregano, is a perennial and herbaceous plant species grown for centuries for medicinal, cosmetic and culinary purposes. This is the first study to investigate the putative neuroprotective and pro-cognitive activities of O. onites essential oil (OOEO) against scopolamine-induced amnesia of AD-type in Wistar albino rats. The results of behavioral tests revealed that OOEO administration was able to significantly alleviate learning and memory impairments induced by scopolamine in vivo. The observed effects could be attributed to inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity, attenuation of oxidative stress and prevention of neuronal apoptosis in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of AD rats. Modulation of pro-inflammatory enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-2, inducible nitric oxide synthase and myeloperoxidase, might further contribute to the neuroprotective properties of OEOO, as predicted by our in silico models. These findings offer novel insights into the therapeutic potential of OEOO in patients with AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Apoptosis; Neuroinflammation; Origanum onites; Oxidative stress; Scopolamine-induced amnesia.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Animals
  • Cognition
  • Humans
  • Oils, Volatile* / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile* / therapeutic use
  • Origanum*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Scopolamine


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Scopolamine
  • Acetylcholinesterase