Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) seed attenuates memory impairment induced by scopolamine in mice via regulation of cholinergic dysfunction and oxidative stress
The cholinergic dysfunction and oxidative stress are the most common causes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Safflower seeds contain various anti-oxidant and cholinergic improvement compounds, such as serotonin and its derivatives. In the present study, we investigated protective effects and mechanisms of safflower seeds on scopolamine-induced memory impairment in the mouse model. Safflower seed extract was orally administered at the dose of 100 mg/kg/day, and then behavior tests (such as T-maze and novel object recognition test) were conducted. Acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) activity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and antioxidant enzymes in the brain were measured. In behavior tests, the novel route and object recognitions were improved by the administration of safflower seeds, which suggests that safflower seeds improve memory function in the scopolamine-treated mouse model. In addition, safflower seed-administered group showed inhibition of the AChE activity and improved cholinergic dysfunction. Furthermore, the administration of safflower seeds resulted in a lower ROS production and higher antioxidant enzymes levels as compared to the scopolamine-treated group, suggesting the protective role of safflower seeds against oxidative stress. The results of the present study suggest that safflower seeds improve scopolamine-induced memory deficits via inhibition of cholinergic dysfunction and oxidative stress. Therefore, safflower seeds might become a promising agent for memory improvement in AD patients.