Enhancement of Amygdaloid Neuronal Dendritic Arborization by Fresh Leaf Juice of Centella asiatica (Linn) during Growth Spurt Period in Rats
Centella asiatica (CeA) is a creeping herb, growing in moist places in India and other Asian Countries. Ayurvedic system of medicine, an alternate system of medicine in India, uses leaves of CeA for memory enhancement. Here, we have investigated the role of CeA fresh leaf juice treatment during growth spurt period of rats on dendritic morphology of amygdaloid neurons, one of the regions concerned with learning and memory. The present study was conducted on neonatal rat pups. The rat pups (7-days-old) were fed with 2, 4 and 6 ml/kg body of fresh leaf juice of CeA for 2, 4 and 6 weeks. After the treatment period, the rats were killed, brains removed and amygdaloid neurons impregnated with Silver nitrate (Golgi staining). Amygdaloid neurons were traced using camera lucida and dendritic branching points (a measure of dendritic arborization) and intersections (a measure dendritic length) quantified. These data were compared with those of age-matched control rats. The results showed a significant increase in dendritic length (intersections) and dendritic branching points along the length of dendrites of the amygdaloid neurons of rats treated with 4 and 6 ml/kg body weight/day of CeA for longer periods of time (i.e. 4 and 6 weeks). We conclude that constituents/active principles present in CeA fresh leaf juice has neuronal dendritic growth stimulating property; hence it can be used for enhancing neuronal dendrites in stress and other neurodegenerative and memory disorders.