Indexed on: 18 Mar '15Published on: 18 Mar '15Published in: Experimental and therapeutic medicine
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder and the most common cause of dementia. New treatments for AD are required due to its increasing prevalence in aging populations. The present study evaluated the effects of the active components of Epimedium, Astragalus and Radix Puerariae on learning and memory impairment, β-amyloid (Aβ) reduction and brain iron load in an APPswe/PS1ΔE9 transgenic mouse model of AD. Increasing evidence indicates that a disturbance of normal iron homeostasis may contribute to the pathology of AD. However, the underlying mechanisms resulting in abnormal iron load in the AD brain remain unclear. It has been hypothesized that the brain iron load is influenced by the deregulation of certain proteins associated with brain iron metabolism, including divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) and ferroportin 1 (FPN1). The present study investigated the effects of the active components of Epimedium, Astragalus and Radix Puerariae on the expression levels of DMT1 and FPN1. The treatment with the active components reduced cognitive deficits, inhibited Aβ plaque accumulation, reversed Aβ burden and reduced the brain iron load in AD model mice. A significant increase was observed in the levels of DMT1-iron-responsive element (IRE) and DMT1-nonIRE in the hippocampus of the AD mouse brain, which was reduced by treatment with the active components. In addition, the levels of FPN1 were significantly reduced in the hippocampus of the AD mouse brain compared with those of control mice, and these levels were increased following treatment with the active components. Thus, the present study indicated that the active components of Epimedium, Astragalus and Radix Puerariae may exert a neuroprotective effect against AD by reducing iron overload in the AD brain and may provide a novel approach for the development of drugs for the treatment of AD.