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Houttuynia cordata Improves Cognitive Deficits in Cholinergic Dysfunction Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Models

Cognitive impairment is a result of dementia of diverse causes, such as cholinergic dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (Saururaceae) has long been used as a traditional herbal medicine. It has biological activities including protective effects against amyloid beta (Aβ) toxicity, via regulation of calcium homeostasis, in rat hippocampal cells. To extend previous reports, we investigated the effects of water extracts of H. cordata herb (HCW) on tauopathies, also involving calcium influx. We then confirmed the effects of HCW in improving memory impairment and neuronal damage in mice with Aβ-induced neurotoxicity. We also investigated the effects of HCW against scopolamine-induced cholinergic dysfunction in mice. In primary neuronal cells, HCW inhibited the phosphorylation of tau by regulating p25/p35 expression in Aβ-induced neurotoxicity. In mice with Aβ-induced neurotoxicity, HCW improved cognitive impairment, as assessed with behavioral tasks, such as novel object recognition, Y-maze, and passive avoidance tasks. HCW also inhibited the degeneration of neurons in the CA3 region of the hippocampus in Aβ-induced neurotoxicity. Moreover, HCW, which had an IC50 value of 79.7 mg/ml for acetylcholinesterase inhibi-tion, ameliorated scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment significantly in Y-maze and passive avoidance tasks. These results indicate that HCW improved cognitive impairment, due to cholinergic dysfunction, with inhibitory effects against tauopathies and cholinergic antagonists, suggesting that HCW may be an interesting candidate to investigate for the treatment of AD.

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