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2008 Grants - Dhanasekaran
Novel Neuroprotective Effects of Centella asiatica
Muralikrishnan Dhanasekaran, Ph.D.
2008 New Investigator Research Grant
Centella asiatica is a small herbaceous plant that has been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes in Asian cultures. Dried leaves of the plant continue to be used in India to improve memory, as well as to induce relaxation and treat depression and anxiety.
Muralikrishnan Dhanasekaran, Ph.D., and colleagues have studied the effects of Centella asiatica in mice that have been genetically altered to express Alzheimer-like pathology. They observed that the herb reduced the accumu-lation of beta-amyloid, a protein fragment in the brain that is a key suspect in Alzheimer pathology. These preliminary studies also suggest that treatment with Centella asiatica is safe.
Dr. Dhanasekaran and colleagues will continue their studies to confirm whether Centella asiatica reduces beta-amyloid accumulation in Alzheimer-like mice and to characterize the biochemical mechanism by which it acts on cells. These studies may determine if this ancient medicinal plant exhibits therapeutic potential for treating Alzheimer's disease.