Cognitive impairment due to natural or surgical menopause is always associated with estrogen deficiency leading to reduced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Reduced BDNF levels in menopause affect neuronal maturation, survival, axonal and dendritic arborization and the maintenance of dendritic spine density. Conventional long-term estrogen replacement therapy reported causing the risk of venous thromboembolism and breast cancer. To overcome these undesirable effects, phytoestrogens have been used in menopause-induced condition without the risk of side effects. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation of fenugreek seed extract (FG) either alone or in combination with choline–DHA on BDNF and dendritic arborization of pyramidal neurons in CA1 and CA3 regions of the hippocampus in ovariectomized rats. Female Wistar rats of 9–10 months old were divided into six groups as normal control (NC); ovariectomy (OVX); OVX + FG; OVX + choline–DHA; OVX + FG + choline–DHA; and OVX + estradiol. All the groups, except NC, were ovariectomized. After 2 weeks of ovariectomy, dietary supplementation was initiated for a period of 30 days. After supplementation, behavioral studies, BDNF levels and dendritic arborization were estimated. Ovariectomized (OVX) rats showed reduced BDNF levels, dendritic branching points and dendritic intersections of pyramidal neurons in CA1 and CA3 regions of the hippocampus. OVX rats supplemented with FG with choline–DHA showed significantly improved BDNF levels, dendritic branching points and dendritic intersections. These results are demonstrating that FG with choline–DHA supplementation can be an alternative for estrogen replacement therapy to modulate menopause-induced learning and memory deficits.
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