Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 10 ;9(1):8404. Epub 2019 Jun 10. PMID: 31182820
Inverted U-shaped response of a standardized extract of Centella asiatica (ECa 233) on memory enhancement.
The herb Centella asiatica has long been considered a memory tonic. A recent review found no strong evidence for improvement of cognitive function, suggesting negative results were due to limitations in dose, standardization and product variation. We used a standardized extract of C. asiatica (ECa 233) to study behavioral, cellular and molecular effects on learning and memory enhancement. ECa 233 (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg) was given orally to normal rats twice a day for 30 days. We used the Morris water maze to test spatial learning and performed acute brain slice recording to measure changes of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, a core brain region for memory formation. Plasticity-related protein expressions (NR2A, NR2B, PSD-95, BDNF and TrkB) in hippocampus was also measured. Rats receiving 10 and 30 mg/kg doses showed significantly enhanced memory retention, and hippocampal long-term potentiation; however, only the 30 mg/kg dose showed increased plasticity-related proteins. There was an inverted U-shaped response of ECa 233 on memory enhancement; 30 mg/kg maximally enhanced memory retention with an increase of synaptic plasticity and plasticity-related proteins in hippocampus. Our data clearly support the beneficial effect on memory retention of a standardized extract of Centella asiatica within a specific therapeutic range.