7,8-Dihydroxyflavone improves memory consolidation processes in rats and mice

E. Bollen, T. Vanmierlo, S. Akkerman, C. Wouters, H. M. W. Steinbusch, J. Prickaerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a crucial regulator of neuronal survival and neuroplasticity in the central nervous system (CNS). As a result, there has been a growing interest in the role of BDNF in neuropsychiatric disorders associated with neurodegeneration, including depression and dementia. However, until now, BDNF-targeting therapies have yielded disappointing results. BDNF is thought to exert its beneficial effects on synaptic and neuronal plasticity mainly through binding to the tyrosine kinase B (TrkB) receptor. Recently, 7,8-dihydroxyflavone (7,8-DHF) was identified as the first selective TrkB agonist. In the present study the effect of 7,8-DHF on memory consolidation processes was evaluated. In healthy rats, 7,8-DHF improved object memory formation in the object recognition task when administered both immediately and 3 h after learning. In a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, i.e. APPswe/PS1dE9 mice, spatial memory as measured in the object location task was improved after administration of 7,8-DHF. A similar memory improvement was found when their wild-type littermates were treated with 7,8-DHF. The acute beneficial effects in healthy mice suggest that effects might be symptomatic rather than curing. Nevertheless, this study suggests that 7,8-DHF might be a promising therapeutic target for dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-12
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2013


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • TrkB receptor
  • 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone
  • Memory consolidation
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognition enhancers


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