Sunday, March 10, 2019

Bee Pollen May Help Treat Cognitive Impairment (Memory, Dementia)

The Ameliorating Effects of Bee Pollen on Scopolamine-Induced Cognitive Impairment in Mice

Biol Pharm Bull. 2019;42(3):379-388

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Bee pollen consists of floral pollen mixed with bee secretions and nectar. It has been considered as a functional food and has different kinds of biologically active ingredients, such as flavonoids, polyphenols, phytosterols and minerals. However, its function in cognition has yet been investigated.

In the present study, we investigated the ameliorating effect of bee pollen against scopolamine-caused cognitive impairment through the passive avoidance test, the Y-maze test and the Morris water maze test. In addition, Western blotting was employed to verify the effects of bee pollen on memory-related signaling molecules in the hippocampus. Bee pollen extract (100 or 300 mg/kg, per os (p.o.)) obviously reversed scopolamine-caused cognitive impairment in the passive avoidance test, ameliorated spontaneous alternation versus the scopolamine-treated group in the Y-maze test and prolonged swimming time in the target zone in the Morris water maze test. In addition, the phosphorylation levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), protein kinase B (Akt) and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), and the expression levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) in the hippocampi, were increased in response to the treatment with bee pollen extract (100 or 300 mg/kg, p.o.).

These results indicated that bee pollen ameliorates cognitive impairment induced by cholinergic blockade through the enhancing conversion of proBDNF to mature BDNF by tPA, probably, through the ERK-CREB pathway or Akt-GSK-3β signaling pathway and would be a useful agent for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction.

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