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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2012, Article ID 381974, 9 pages
Research Article

Centella asiatica Extract Improves Behavioral Deficits in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease: Investigation of a Possible Mechanism of Action

1Department of Neurology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA
2Department of Neurology, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, OR 97239, USA

Received 1 August 2011; Accepted 26 October 2011

Academic Editor: Abdu Adem

Copyright © 2012 Amala Soumyanath et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Centella asiatica (CA), commonly named gotu kola, is an Ayurvedic herb used to enhance memory and nerve function. To investigate the potential use of CA in Alzheimer's disease (AD), we examined the effects of a water extract of CA (GKW) in the Tg2576 mouse, a murine model of AD with high β-amyloid burden. Orally administered GKW attenuated β-amyloid-associated behavioral abnormalities in these mice. In vitro, GKW protected SH-SY5Y cells and MC65 human neuroblastoma cells from toxicity induced by exogenously added and endogenously generated β-amyloid, respectively. GKW prevented intracellular β-amyloid aggregate formation in MC65 cells. GKW did not show anticholinesterase activity or protect neurons from oxidative damage and glutamate toxicity, mechanisms of current AD therapies. GKW is rich in phenolic compounds and does not contain asiatic acid, a known CA neuroprotective triterpene. CA thus offers a unique therapeutic mechanism and novel active compounds of potential relevance to the treatment of AD.