OBJECTIVE: memory loss is universal and is the first symptom to manifest in majority of the patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. This study is designed to investigate the effect of Ferula asafoetida Linn. (F. foetida) extract on learning and memory in rats.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: learning and memory were evaluated using elevated plus maze and passive avoidance paradigm after the oral administration of two doses (200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg) of F. foetida aqueous extract with rivastigmine as positive control. Brain cholinesterase activity, serum thiols and cholesterol were also estimated.
RESULTS: extract produced significant improvement in memory score i.e. step through latency at 400 mg/kg dose in passive avoidance model (P< 0.05) and dose-dependent improvement of transfer latency in elevated plus maze model (P< 0.001). Dose-dependent inhibition of brain cholinesterase (P< 0.001) and significant improvement in antioxidant levels (P< 0.05) were also noted.
CONCLUSIONS: memory enhancing potential of F. foetida can be attributed to acetylcholinesterase inhibiting and antioxidant properties. Hence, dietary usage of F. foetida is beneficial and can also be employed as an adjuvant to existing anti-dementia therapies.