Effects of Boswellia Papyrifera Gum Extract on Learning and Memory in Mice and Rats

Document Type : Original Article


1 School of Pharmacy, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Department of Pharmocoeconomy and Pharmaceutical Management, Shcool of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of otolaryngology, Amiralam Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Razi Herbal Medicines Research Center, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khoramabad, Iran


Learning is defined as the acquisition of information and skills, while subsequent retention of that information is called memory. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of aqueous extract of Boswellia papyrifera on learning and memory paradigms in mice and rats.
Materials and Methods
This study was held at the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Kermanshah University of Medical Science, Kermanshah, Iran from September 2006 to March 2008. Male Wistar rats and male NMRI mice were randomly divided into control, B. papyrifera treated (50, 100, 150 mg/kg, p.o.), and piracetam (150 mg/kg) groups. Radial arm maze (RAM) and Morris water maze (MWM) were the screening tests used to assess the activity of B. papyrifera extract.
The mice treated with B. papyrifera (50, 100 and 150 mg/kg) or piracetam (150 mg/kg) showed a decrease in number of days required to learned (P< 0.05) and time taken to find food by the learned mice in radial arm maze (P< 0.01). In Morris water maze, rats treated with the above mentioned doses showed dose dependent improvement in spatial learning. Escape latency during swimming in water maze in piracetam and B. papyrifera treated animals was significantly lower (P< 0.01) than control. Swimming distance was also significantly lower (P< 0.05) in the treated groups.
The results show facilitation of spatial learning and memory processes and thereby validate B. papyrifera traditional use of intelligence improving. The presence of alkaloids, flavonoids and saponins might be responsible for this activity of B. papyrifera.


1.Kupfermann I. Learning and Memory, Principles of neural science. London: Prentice Hall International; 1993.p.997-1008.
2.Franchis P, Palmer A, Snape M, Wilcock G. The cholinergic hypothesis of Alzheimers disease: a review of progress. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1999; 66; 137-147.
3.Beers MH. The Merck manual of medical information, 2nded. Home ed.New Jersey: Merck and Co, INC; 2003.p.479.
4.Parle M, Dhingra D, Kulkarni SK. Neurochemical basis of learning and memory. Indian J Pharm Sci 2004; 66; 371-376.
5.Giurgea CE. The nootropic concept and its prospective implications. Drug Dev Res 1982; 2:441-446.
6.Croisile B, Trillet M, Fondarai J, Laurent B, Mauguierf F, Billardon M. Long-term and high-dose piracetam treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Neurology 1993; 43;301-305. 
7.Waegemans T, Wilsher CR, Danniau A, Ferris SH, Kurz A, Winblad B. Clinical efficacy of piracetam in cognitive impairment: a meta-analysis. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2002; 13:217-224.
8.Moyersoons F, Giurgea CE. Protective effect of piracetam in experimental barbiturate intoxication: EEG and behavioural studies. Arch I Pharmacodyn 1974; 210:38-48.
9.Altas E, Ucuncu H, Aktan B, Selimoglu E. The combined effect of piracetam in preventing cisplatin induced ototoxicity in a guinea pig model and gentamicin. Pain Clinic 2004; 16; 427-435.
10.Deviatkina TA, Vazhnichaia EM, Lytsenko RV. Characteristics of lipid peroxidation in various tissues during acute stress and its correction by piracetam and cerebrolysin. Exp Clin Pharmacol 2000; 63:38-41.
11.Bul’on VV, Zavodskaia IS, Khnychenko LK. The effect of neurotropic agents on lipid peroxidation in the heart and stomach with neurogenic lesions. Exp Clin Pharmacol 1994; 57:18-20.
12.Marini H, Costa C, Passaniti M, Esposito M, Campo GM, Ientile R, et al. Levetiracetam protects against kainic acid-induced toxicity. Life Sci 2004; 74:1253-1264.
13.Zargari A. Medicinal Plants. Tehran: Tehran University Press; Vol. III, 1989.
14.Reddy DS. Assessment of nootropic and amnesic activity of centrally acting agents. Indian J Pharmacol 1997; 29: 208-221.
15.Kulkarni SK. Handbook of experimental pharmacology. 3rd ed.Delhi: Vallabh Prakashan; 2005.
16.Vyawahare NS, Nikam AP, Sharma RG, Deshpande MM, Tarnalli AD, Bodhankar SL. Effect of Clitoria ternatea extract on radial arm maze task performance and central cholinergic activity in rats. J Cell Tissue Res 2007; 7:949-952.
17.Vyawahare NS, Bodhankar SL. Effect of Argyreia speciosa extract on learning and memory paradigms in mice. Pharmacognosy Magazine 2009; 17:43-48.
18.Pourmotabbed A, Tahmasian M, 1Shahi M, Karami Darabkhani H, Fathollahi Y. Facilitating effects of morphine dependence on spatial learning and memory in rat. Daru 2007; 15:156-161.
19.Kikusui T, Tonohiro T,Kaneko T. Simultaneous evaluation of spatial working memory and motivation by the allocentric place discrimination task in the water maze in rats. J Vet Med Sci 1999; 61:673-681.
20.Trease GE, Evans WC. Pharmacognosy. London: Bailliere Tindall Press; 1983.
21.Kesari AN, Gupta RK, Singh SK, Diwakar S, Watal G. Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activity of Aegle marmelos seed extract in normal and diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2006; 107; 374-379.
22.Andreoli TE, Carpenter CCJ, Bennett JC, Plum F. Cecil Essentials of Medicine.4thed. Philadelphia: Saunders WB Co; 2002.
23.Thakur VD, Mengi SA. Neuropharmacological profile of Eclipta alba (Linn.) Hassk. J Ethnopharmacol 2005; 102:23-31.
24.Kulkarni SK. Hand book of experimental Pharmacology. 3rd ed. New Delhi: Vallabh Prakashan; 2005.
25.Achliya G, Barhate U, Wadokar S, Dorle A. Effect of brahmi ghrita, a polyherbal formulation on learning and memory paradigms in experimental animals. Indian J Pharmacol 2004; 03:159-162.
26.Vogel HG,Vogel WH. Drug discovery and evaluation: Pharmacological assay. Heidelberg: Springer- Verlag Berlin; Vol.II, 2002.
27.Vyawahare NS, Bodhankar SL. Neuropharmacological profile of Piper betel leaves extract in mice. Pharmacologyonline 2007; 2:146-162.
28.Jain NN, Ohal CC, Shroff SK, Bhutada RH, Somani RS, Kasture VS, et al. Clitoria ternatea and CNS. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2002; 75:529-536.
29.Tripathi Y, Chaurasia S, Tripathi E. Bacopa monniera Linn as anantioxidant: mechanism of action. Indian J Exp Biol 1996; 34:523-526.
30.Lee SC, Moon YS, You KH. Effects of red ginseng saponins and nootropic drugs on impaired acquisition of ethanol treated rats in passive avoidance performance. J Ethanopharmacol 2000; 69: 01-08.
31.Ni JM, Ohta H, Matsumoto K, Watanabe H. Progressive cognitive impairment following chronic cerebral hypoperfusion induced by permanent occlusion of bilateral carotid arteries in rats. Brain Res 1994; 653:231-236.
32.Sarti C, Pantoni L, Bartolini L, Inzitari D. Cognitive impairment and chronic cerebral hypoperfusion: What can be learned from experimental models. J Neurol Sci 2002; 203/204:263-266.
33.Gabryel B, Adamek M, Pudelko A, Malecki A, Trzeciak HI. Piracetam and vinpocetine exert cytoprotective activity and prevent apoptosis of astrocytes in vitro in hypoxia and reoxygenation. Neurotoxicology 2002; 23:19¬31.
34.Moriau M, Crasborn L, Lavenne-Pardonge E, Von Frenckell R. Platelet anti-aggregant and rheological properties of piracetam. A pharmacodynamic study in normal subjects. Arzneimittelforschung 1993; 43:110-118.
35.Moran TH, Capone GT, Knipp S, Davisson MT, Reeves RH, Gearhart JD. The effects of piracetam on cognitive performance in a mouse model of Down's syndrome. Physiol Behav 2002; 77:403-409.
36.Nomura T, Nishizaki T. Nefiracetam facilitates hippocampal neurotransmission by a mechanism independent of the piracetam and aniracetam action. Brain Res 2000; 870:157-162.