The in vivo neuromodulatory effects of the herbal medicine ginkgo biloba. Academic Article uri icon


  • Extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves are consumed as dietary supplements to counteract chronic, age-related neurological disorders. We have applied high-density oligonucleotide microarrays to define the transcriptional effects in the cortex and hippocampus of mice whose diets were supplemented with the herbal extract. Gene expression analysis focused on the mRNAs that showed a more than 3-fold change in their expression. In the cortex, mRNAs for neuronal tyrosine/threonine phosphatase 1, and microtubule-associated tau were significantly enhanced. Hyperphosphorylated tau is the major constituent of the neurofibrillary tangles in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients. The expression of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)-2, calcium and chloride channels, prolactin, and growth hormone (GH), all of which are associated with brain function, were also up-regulated. In the hippocampus, only transthyretin mRNA was upregulated. Transthyretin plays a role in hormone transport in the brain and possibly a neuroprotective role by amyloid-beta sequestration. This study reveals that diets supplemented with Ginkgo biloba extract have notable neuromodulatory effects in vivo and illustrates the utility of genome-wide expression monitoring to investigate the biological actions of complex extracts.

altmetric score

  • 9.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Watanabe, C. M., Wolffram, S., Ader, P., Rimbach, G., Packer, L., Maguire, J. J., Schultz, P. G., & Gohil, K

citation count

  • 210

complete list of authors

  • Watanabe, CM||Wolffram, S||Ader, P||Rimbach, G||Packer, L||Maguire, JJ||Schultz, PG||Gohil, K

publication date

  • January 2001