Black ginseng good for ischemia-induced neuronal and cognitive impairment
Black ginseng (BG) has been widely used as herbal treatment for improving physiological function. In order to investigate the neuroprotective action of this herbal medicine, we examined the influence of BG on the learning and memory of rats using the Morris water maze, and we studied the effects of BG on the central cholinergic system and neural nitric oxide synthesis in the hippocampus of rats with neuronal and cognitive impairment. After middle cerebral artery occlusion was applied for 2h, the rats were administered BG (100 or 400 mgkg(-1), p.o.) daily for 2 weeks, followed by training and performance of the Morris water maze test. The rats with ischemic insults showed impaired learning and memory on the tasks. Treatment with BG produced improvement in the escape latency to find the platform. Further, the BG groups showed a reduced loss of cholinergic immunoreactivity and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase (NADPH-d)-positive neurons in the hippocampus compared to that of the ISC group. These results demonstrated that BG has a protective effect against ischemia-induced neuronal and cognitive impairment. Our results suggest that BG might be useful for the treatment of vascular dementia.