Cerebralcare Granule® enhances memantine hydrochloride efficacy in APP/PS1 mice by ameliorating amyloid pathology and cognitive functions

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Abstract

Background: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory deficits and cognitive decline. Current drugs can only relieve symptoms, but cannot really cure AD. Cerebralcare Granule® (CG) is a Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) containing a variety of biologically active compounds. In our previous studies, CG has shown a beneficial effect against memory impairment in mice caused by d-galactose. However, whether CG can be used as a complementary medicine for the treatment of AD remains unexplored. Here, we use a combination of CG and memantine hydrochloride (Mm) to treat Alzheimer-like pathology and investigate the effects and mechanisms in vivo. Methods: The histology of brain was examined with Hematoxylin–eosin (HE) staining, Golgi staining and Thioflavin S staining. ELISA was applied to assess the expression levels or activities of CAT, SOD, GSH-Px, MDA, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total bilirubin (TBIL) in serum, as well as the levels of IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α in the mice brain. Western blotting was used to assess the expression of β-secretase (BACE1), amyloid precursor protein (APP), APPβ, APPα, synaptophysin (SYN), growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43), and postsynaptic density 95 (PSD95). Results: In the present study, the combination group (CG + Mm) significantly attenuated Alzheimer-like behavior without adverse effects in APP/PS1 mice, indicating its high degree of safety and efficacy after long-term treatment. CG + Mm reduced AD pathological biomarker Aβ plaque accumulation by inhibiting BACE1 and APP expression (P < 0.05 or P < 0.001). Besides, the combination group markedly inhibited the levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α in hippocampus (P < 0.001), as well as activities of SOD, CAT, and GSH-Px in serum (P < 0.001). By contrast, the combination group improved synaptic plasticity by enhancing SYN, PSD95, and GAP43 expression. Conclusions: Taken together, these data supported the notion that CG combined with Mm might ameliorate the cognitive impairment through multiple pathways, suggesting that CG could play a role as complementary medicine to increase anti-AD effect of chemical drugs by reducing Aβ deposition, neuroinflammation, oxidative damage, and improving synaptic plasticity.

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Qiao, O., Zhang, X., Zhang, Y., Ji, H., Li, Z., Han, X., … Gao, W. (2021). Cerebralcare Granule® enhances memantine hydrochloride efficacy in APP/PS1 mice by ameliorating amyloid pathology and cognitive functions. Chinese Medicine (United Kingdom), 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13020-021-00456-9

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