Extracts of Ginkgo biloba (EGB) have been used in traditional medicines for centuries, and have potential for clinical applications in cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury. However, standardized extracts have proven protective only as pre-treatments, and the major mechanisms of action remain unclear. We explored the potential of the novel extract EGB1212, which meets the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 31 standardization criteria for pharmaceutical use, as a post-treatment after global cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (GCI/R) injury in a rat model.
The pre-treated group was administered EGB1212 for 7 d prior to common carotid artery occlusion (i.e., ischemia, for 20 min). Post-treated rats received the same but starting 2 h after ischemia and continuing for 7 d. Seven days after GCI/R, brains of each group were processed for H&E staining of hippocampal CA1 neurons. Remaining rats underwent the Morris water maze and Y-maze tests of spatial learning and memory, beginning eight days after reperfusion. To assess hippocampal autophagy, light chain (LC)-3-I/LC3-II and Akt/pAkt were determined via a Western blot of rat hippocampi harvested 12, 24, or 72 h after reperfusion.
EGB1212 pre- and post-treatments both improved neuronal survival and spatial learning and memory functions. Pre-treatment effectively reduced LC3-II levels and post-treatment resulted in significantly elevated pAkt levels. We conclude that EGB1212 exerted significant neuroprotection in GCI/R in both preventative and post-treatment settings. This extract shows great potential for clinical applications.