Huperzia serrata, a source of huperzine A (Fig. 16.1), has been used for centuries in TEM to treat fever, inflammation, blood disorders, and schizophrenia. Huperzine A acts as a potent, highly specific and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase that crosses the blood-brain barrier. Its potency of acetylcholinesterase inhibition is similar or superior to that of physostigmine, galanthamine, donepezil, and tacrine [152, 153].
Huperzine A protected PC12 cells against OGD-induced toxicity, most likely by alleviating disturbances of oxidative and energy metabolism . Huperzine A treatment is protective against both brain injury and spatial memory impairment in a hypoxic ischemic brain injury of a neonatal rat model [155, 156]. Huperzine A protects against diverse neurodegenerative states observed during ischemia or
Alzheimer's disease by blocking NMDA ion channels . Subchronic oral administration of huperzine A after global ischemia in gerbils significantly reduced memory impairment, reduced neuronal degeneration in the CA1 region, and partially restored hippocampal choline acetyltransferase activity .
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