Prevention of scopolamine-induced memory deficits by schisandrin B, an antioxidant lignan from Schisandra chinensis in mice

The preventive effect of schisandrin B (Sch B), an antioxidant ingredient of Schisandra chinensis, was studied on scopolamine-induced dementia in mouse. Scopolamine developed oxidative stress in the brain with the decreased levels of antioxidant enzymes and increased nitrite level. At the same time, a significant impairment of learning and memory occurred when evaluated by passive avoidance task (PAT) and Morris water maze (MWM) with concomitant increase of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity and decreased acetylcholine levels. Pre-treatment by Sch B (10, 25, 50 mg/kg) effectively prevented scopolamine-induced oxidative stress and improved behavioural tasks. Further, the scopolamine-induced increase in AChE activity was significantly suppressed and the level of acetylcholine was maintained as normal by Sch B treatment.These results suggest that Sch B have protective function against cerebral functional defects such as dementia not only by antioxidant prevention but also exerting its potent cognitive-enhancing activity through modulation of acetylcholine level.