Euphorbia hirta reverses chronic stress-induced anxiety and mediates its action through the GABAA receptor benzodiazepine receptor-Cl - channel complex

abstract

  • Chronic stress is known to result in impairment of learning and memory and precipitate several affective disorders including depression and anxiety. Drugs of natural origin are known to possess several effects on the central nervous system and are emerging as promising alternative therapies. In this context, the hydroalcoholic extract of Euphorbia hirta (Eh) was evaluated for anxiolytic property in chronically stressed rats subjected to elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field test (OFT). Eh treatment (200 mg/kg, p.o.; seven days) showed marked anti-anxiety activity in chronic immobilization stress. In contrast, the forced swim stress-induced anxiety was only partially decreased by Eh. Co-treatment of rats with flumazenil (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.), bicuculline (1 mg/kg, i.p.) or picrotoxin (1 mg/kg, i.p.) resulted in a significant reduction of anxiolytic effect of Eh indicating that its actions are mediated through GABAA receptor-benzodiazepine receptor-Cl- channel complex. Thus, our studies indicate that Eh is a potential anxiolytic drug, which might be beneficial in the treatment of stress-induced anxiety disorders. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.

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