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Caffeoylquinic acid (CQA) is a natural polyphenol with evidence of antioxidant and neuroprotective effects and prevention of deficits in spatial learning and memory. We studied the cognitive-enhancing effect of 3,4,5-tricaffeoylquinic acid (TCQA) and explored its cellular and molecular mechanism in the senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) model of aging and Alzheimer's disease as well as in human neural stem cells (hNSCs). Mice were fed with 5 mg/kg of TCQA for 30 days and were tested in the Morris water maze (MWM). Brain tissues were collected for immunohistochemical detection of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) to detect activated stem cells and newborn neurons. TCQA-treated SAMP8 exhibited significantly improved cognitive performance in MWM compared to water-treated SAMP8. TCQA-treated SAMP8 mice also had significantly higher numbers of BrdU+/glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP+) and BrdU+/Neuronal nuclei (NeuN+) cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) neurogenic niche compared with untreated SAMP8. In hNSCs, TCQA induced cell cycle arrest at G0/G1, actin cytoskeleton organization, chromatin remodeling, neuronal differentiation, and bone morphogenetic protein signaling. The neurogenesis promoting effect of TCQA in the DG of SAMP8 mice might explain the cognition-enhancing influence of TCQA observed in our study, and our hNSCs in aggregate suggest a therapeutic potential for TCQA in aging-associated diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Aging (Albany NY)

Publication Date





401 - 422


BMP signaling, SAMP8, TCQA, neurogenesis, spatial learning and memory