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Summer Research Fellowship Programme of India's Science Academies

Effect of Bacopa monnieri treatment in relation to the expression levels of specific proteins involved in mice neuro-cognitive system

Mr Sabari Krishnan B. B.

Summer Research Fellow, Bachelor of Technology, Department of Genetic Engineering, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur, Chennai 603203

Dr Sourav Kundu

Ramanujan Fellow (DST-SERB, Govt. of India), Department of Botany, West Bengal State University, Kolkata, West Bengal 700126

Abstract

Memory and consciousness are the two important features of any living organism and the fittest in that has a fit survival. Broadly, we can say that brain is the centre for memory and consciousness, and the neurons work for that using neurotransmitters and other molecules. Due to our increasing dependence on automated and AI systems, physical as well as mental functioning has gone down resulting in an "unhealthy" body and mind. There are certain products and medications in market available to help us cope up physically and mentally with the growing world, but then comes the issue of side-effects. Here comes the need to search for natural (especially plant-based) products which can help us improve our health. One such Ayurvedic herb is Bacopa monnieri (commonly known as Brahmi), which is used for improving mental health. The effect of Brahmi extract in the expression of the important protein-coding genes associated with cognition, neuro-communication and neuroplasticity, such as Vesicular Monoamine Transporter 2 (VMAT2), N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptor 1 (NMDAR1) and Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), were examined in young Swiss-albino mice, Mus musculus. The animals were divided into five groups and certain groups were treated with a slightly higher dose of methylphenidate hydrochloride (MPH), a psychostimulant drug and were given Brahmi medication simultaneously for 10-12 days. To determine the changes in gene expression, reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) was performed with the isolated RNA from the tail snips of the mice. The results showed that MPH at a higher dose has an up-regulating effect on the gene expressions. But it has also denoted that Brahmi has a down-regulating effect on the expression (below the control), which was contradictory to the hypothesis and other studies in the same field.

Keywords: methylphenidate hydrochloride, VMAT2, NMDAR1, BDNF, Brahmi

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