Senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) is a model of aging characterized by the early onset of learning and memory impairment and various pathological features of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our recent studies have demonstrated that nobiletin, a polymethoxylated flavone from citrus peels, ameliorates learning and memory impairment in olfactory-bulbectomized mice, amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice, and NMDA receptor antagonist-treated mice. Here, we present evidence that this natural compound improves age-related cognitive impairment and reduces oxidative stress and tau phosphorylation in SAMP8 mice. Treatment with nobiletin (10 or 50. mg/kg) reversed the impairment of recognition memory and context-dependent fear memory in SAMP8 mice. Treatment with nobiletin also restored the decrease in the GSH/GSSG ratio in the brain of SAMP8 mice. In addition, increases in glutathione peroxidase and manganese-superoxide dismutase activities, as well as a decrease in protein carbonyl level, were observed in the brain of nobiletin-treated SAMP8 mice. Furthermore, nobiletin reduced tau phosphorylation in the hippocampus of SAMP8 mice. Together, the markedly beneficial effects of nobiletin represent a potentially useful treatment for ameliorating the learning and memory deficits, oxidative stress, and hyperphosphorylation of tau in aging as well as age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as AD.
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