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The aqueous crude extract of Montanoa frutescens produces anxiolytic-like effects similarly to diazepam in Wistar rats: Involvement of GABA(A) receptor.

Laboratorio de Comportamiento Reproductivo, Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala CP. 90000, Tlaxcala, México.
Journal of ethnopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.32). 07/2012; 143(2):592-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.022
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cihuapatli is the Nahuatl name assigned to some medicinal plants grouped in the genus Montanoa, where Montanoa frutescens (Family: Asteraceae, Tribe: Heliantheae) is included. The crude extract from these plants has been used for centuries in the Mexican traditional medicine as a remedy for reproductive impairments and mood disorders. Experimental studies have systematically corroborated the traditional use of cihuapatli on reproductive impairments and sexual motivation, however, the effect on mood and "nervous" disorders, remains to be explored.
The anxiolytic-like effect of aqueous crude extract of M. frutescens (25, 50 and 75mg/kg) was investigated in male Wistar rats evaluated in the elevated plus-maze and compared with several doses of diazepam (1, 2 and 4mg/kg) as a reference anxiolytic drug. Picrotoxin (1mg/kg), a noncompetitive antagonist of the GABA(A) receptor, was used in experimental procedures to evaluate if this receptor could be involved in the anxiolytic-like effects produced by M. frutescens. To discard hypoactivity, hyperactivity, or no changes associated with treatments, which could interfere with the behavioral activity in the elevated plus-maze, rats were subjected to the open field test.
M. frutescens at 50mg/kg showed anxiolytic-like activity similarly to 2mg/kg of diazepam, without disrupts in general motor activity. The anxiolytic-like effect of M. frutescens detected in the elevated plus-maze was blocked by picrotoxin, indicating that GABA(A) receptors are involved in the modulation of this effect.
The results corroborate the use of M. frutescens in folk Mexican ethnomedicine as a potential anxiolytic agent and suggest that this effect is mediated by the GABA(A) receptors. Additionally, some sedative effects with high doses of M. frutescens were detected in the present study.

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