Hypericum extract and hyperforin:
memory-enhancing properties in rodents

Klusa V, Germane S, Noldner M, Chatterjee SS.
Department of Pharmacology,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Latvia, Riga.
Pharmacopsychiatry 2001 Jul; 34 Suppl 1:S61-9


Effects of a Hypericum extract in therapeutic use and hyperforin sodium salt were evaluated in rat and mouse avoidance tests. In a conditioned avoidance response (CAR) test on the rat, oral daily administration of hyperforin (1.25 mg/kg/day) or of the extract (50 mg/kg/day) before the training sessions considerably improved learning ability from the second day onwards until the day 7. In addition, the memory of the learned responses acquired during 7 consecutive days of administration and training was largely retained even after 9 days without further treatment or training. The observations made using different doses indicate that these learning-facilitating and/or memory-consolidating effects by the agents follow inverse U-shaped dose-response curves in dose ranges lower than (for hyperforin) or equal to (for Hypericum extract) their effective dose in the behavioral despair test for antidepressants. In a passive avoidance response test on the mouse, a single oral dose (1.25 mg/kg) of hyperforin not only improved memory acquisition and consolidation, but also almost completely reversed scopolamine-induced amnesia. The single Hypericum extract dose tested (25 mg/kg) did not reveal any significant effects in the passive avoidance response (PAR) test on the mouse. These observations suggest that the Hypericum extract could be a novel type of antidepressant with memory enhancing properties, and indicate that hyperforin is involved in its cognitive effects. Pure hyperforin seems to be a more potent antidementia agent than an antidepressant.

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