Background: It has been known that ginseng can be applied as a potential nutraceutical for memory impairment; however, experiments with animals of old age are few. Methods: To determine the memory enhancing effect of red ginseng, C57BL/6 mice (21 mo old) were given experimental diet pellets containing 0.12% red ginseng extract (approximately 200 mg/kg/d) for 3 mo. Young and old mice (4 mo and 21 mo old, respectively) were used as the control group. The effect of red ginseng, which ameliorated memory impairment in aged mice, was quantified using Y-maze test, novel objective test, and Morris water maze. Red ginseng ameliorated age-related declines in learning and memory in older mice. In addition, red ginseng’s effect on the induction of inducible nitric oxide synthase and proinflammatory cytokines was investigated in the hippocampus of aged mice. Results: Red ginseng treatment suppressed the production of age-processed inducible nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase-2, tumor necrosis factor-a, and interleukin-1b expressions. Moreover, it was observed that red ginseng had an antioxidative effect on aged mice. The suppressed glutathione level in aged mice was restored with red ginseng treatment. The antioxidative-related enzymes Nrf2 and HO-1 were increased with red ginseng treatment. Conclusion: The results revealed that when red ginseng is administered over long periods, age-related decline of learning and memory is ameliorated through anti-inflammatory activity.
- Panax ginseng