The ability to learn something new and then to store the information in long-term memory is part of normal development. Khat (Catha edulis
Forsk) is a shrub or small to a medium-sized evergreen tree that belongs to Celastraceae family. It is claimed to have a cognitive effect. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the effect khat on spatial learning and memory in mice.
Methods: To this effect, 32 healthy Swiss albino mice of both sexes, each weighing 23-34g, were divided into one control group (Tween 80) and three experimental groups of eight animals each. Khat was orally administered in different doses (100 mg/kg, 200 mg/kg and 300 mg/kg) to experimental mice. Learning and memory performance after khat administration was measured by determining latency and wrong decision making in multiple T-maze test.
Results: Highest dose of khat showed an increment of latency period in the sixth day (100.44 sec). However, it became low in the thirteenth experimental day (76.77sec). The lower dose of Khat showed a significantly (P<0.05) low latency period (117.7 sec) compared to middle dose (206.46 sec) in the first experimental day. The middle dose of khat showed a better lowering of wrong decision making (errors) compared to both the control group and the other experimental groups (higher and low doses of khat). In this study, all the three doses of khat didn’t show any significant improvement of learning and memory compared to the controlled drug (placebo).
Conclusion: The result collectively indicates that all the three doses of khat didn’t show any improvement latency in learning and memory compared to placebo.