Timosaponin AIII, a saponin isolated from Anemarrhena asphodeloides, ameliorates learning and memory deficits in mice.
PLoS One. 2010;5(1):e8719. Epub 2010 Jan 14. PMID: 19426756
Department of Life and Nanopharmaceutical Sciences, and Department of Pharmaceutical Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge (AA, family Liliaceae), which primarily contains xantones, such as mangiferin, and steroidal saponins, such as timosaponin AIII and sarsasapogenin, has been used as an anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-platelet aggregation, and anti-depressant agent in traditional Chinese medicine. In the present study, the memory-enhancing effects of these saponins were investigated in scopolamine-treated mice. Among saponins, timosaponin AIII (TA3) significantly reversed the scopolamine-induced deficits in a passive avoidance test and in the Morris water maze test. TA3 also increased hippocampal acetylcholine levels in scopolamine-treated mice and dose-dependently inhibited acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity (IC(50) value, 35.4 microM). When TA3 (50 mg/kg) was orally administered to mice and its blood concentration was measured by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry, the C(max) of TA3 occurred 4-6 h after TA3 treatment. The memory-enhancing effect of TA3 was greater when it was administered 5 h before the acquisition trial than 1 h before. Scopolamine treatment in mice increased brain levels of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta expression. However, treatment with TA3 and scopolamine inhibited the increase of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta expression. These results suggest that scopolamine may cause learning and memory deficits that are further complicated by inflammation. TA3 also inhibited the activation of NF-kappaB signaling in BV-2 microglia and in SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells induced with TNF-alpha or scopolamine. Nevertheless, TA3 may ameliorate memory deficits, mainly by inhibiting AChE.