2017, Number 3
Rev Mex Neuroci 2017; 18 (3)
Sub-chronic administration of St. John’s wort reverses anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors induced by two different protocols of chronic stress
Rojas-Carvajal M, Fornaguera J, Badilla S, Brenes JC, Calvo MF
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St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum, HP) is one
of the most used herbal medicines. Here we investigated the putative
antidepressive- and anxiolytic-like effects of HP, by using a wellvalidated
rat model of anxiety and depression based on chronic stress.
To this purpose, subjects were either immobilized (INM)
or randomly exposed to different stressors (chronic unpredictable
stress: CUS) during 30 days. Forty-eight hours after the last stress
session, subjects of each stress condition were randomly assigned to
the HP (100 mg/kg), diazepam (5 mg/kg) or saline groups. Immediately
after a baseline measure and during 10 consecutive days, drugs were
intragastrically administrated. During this period, four open-field and
elevated plus-maze tests were carried out every other day.
CUS and INM stress were found to induce an anxiety- and
depressive-like phenotype in both tests, whereas HP and diazepam
progressively restored this stress-dependent phenotype. HP potency
was almost equivalent to that of the diazepam. However, diazepam
peaked slightly sooner and remained unaltered throughout the
testing days, whereas HP peaked gradually and required more
administrations to reach diazepam levels.
HP seems to be a promising alternative treatment for
anxiety and mood disorders that may have wider safe-dosing ranges
and fewer side-effects than benzodiazepines.
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