St. John's wort extract is commonly used as a wound healing, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, diuretic, antibiotic, antiviral and cancer chemoprotective agent. It also has nootropic and/or antiamnestic effects.
Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle response is a valuable paradigm for sensorimotor gating processes. A previous study indicated that single administration of St. John's wort extract (500 mg/kg) caused PPI disruption in rats. The effect of antiamnestic doses of the extract on PPI has not been investigated despite the coexistence of impaired memory and PPI deficit in some neurological disorders.
The effects of acute (500 mg/kg) and chronic (200mg/kg for 3 days) administration of St. John's wort extract were investigated for its antiamnestic activity. The effects of administration of the antiamnestic dose of the extract and hyperforin, its main active component, were tested on PPI of an acoustic startle response in rats. This study also investigated the proapoptotic effect of hyperforin in animals, demonstrating PPI deficit, by electrophoresis of DNA isolated from selected brain areas.
Disruption of PPI resulted after treatment of rats with an antiamnestic dose of the extract (200mg/kg for 3 days) and with hyperforin. Gel electrophoresis showed DNA fragmentation of the cortices of hyperforin-treated animals exhibiting PPI deficit.
The exacerbating effect of St. John's wort extract on PPI deficit may provide a limitation for using the extract to manage cognitive disturbance in psychotic and Huntington's disease patients manifesting PPI deficit.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deterioration in attention and related processes is an early sign in schizophrenia predictive of disease development. Amongst the various translational paradigms for assessing attention in rodents, it is not known if they are equivalent in detecting individual differences. Answers here are pertinent to their use in the general human population for identifying individuals at high risk of developing schizophrenia. The present study employed a within-subject approach to examine in mice two common paradigms for assessing attention that differ markedly in their implementation. An operant-based two-choice visual discrimination task (2-CVDT) that depends on effortful attention to brief visual cues was contrasted with prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle reflex, a well-established test of pre-attentive gating whereby processing of a startle-eliciting stimulus is inhibited by a preceding weak prepulse stimulus. Here, we revealed a correlation showing that individual mice with low PPI tended to perform poorly in the 2-CVDT in terms of choice accuracy but not response speed. This specific positive correlation suggests that the two readouts might be regulated via common attentional mechanisms, which might be critically dependent on normal muscarinic and N-methyl-d-asparate receptor functions. As demonstrated here, blockade of either receptor type by scopolamine or dizocilpine impaired 2-CVDT performance at doses that have been shown to disrupt PPI in mice. Further studies contrasting these two paradigms would be warranted to characterize the possible underlying psychological constructs that give rise to this correlation and to clarify whether the two paradigms may effectively capture schizophrenia-related cognitive deficits belonging to orthogonal domains.
Behavioural brain research 10/2010; 217(1):178-87. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2010.10.021 · 3.03 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle reflex refers to the reduction of the startle response to an intense acoustic pulse stimulus when it is shortly preceded by a weak non-startling prepulse stimulus and provides a cross-species measure of sensory-motor gating. PPI is typically impaired in schizophrenia patients, and a similar impairment can be induced in rats by systemic scopolamine, a muscarinic cholinergic receptor antagonist that can evoke a range of cognitive and psychotic symptoms in healthy humans that are commonly referred to as the "anti-muscarinic syndrome" resembling some clinical features of schizophrenia. Scopolamine-induced PPI disruption has therefore been proposed as an anti-muscarinic animal model of schizophrenia, but parallel investigations in the mouse remain scant and the outcomes are mixed and often confounded by an elevation of startle reactivity. Here, we distinguished the PPI-disruptive and the confounding startle-enhancing effects of scopolamine (1 and 10mg/kg, i.p.) in C57BL/6 wild-type mice by showing that the latter partly stemmed from a shift in spontaneous baseline reactivity. With appropriate correction for between-group differences in startle reactivity, we went on to confirm that the PPI-disruptive effect of scopolamine could be nullified by clozapine pre-treatment (1.5mg/kg, i.p.) in a dose-dependent manner. This is the first demonstration that scopolamine-induced PPI disruption is sensitive to atypical antipsychotic drugs. In concert with previous data showing its sensitivity to haloperidol the present finding supports the predictive validity of the anti-muscarinic PPI disruption model for both typical and atypical antipsychotic drug action.
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