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ABSTRACT: The treatment of unselected depressed patients with an hydro-alcoholic extract of Hypericum perforatum has been reported to have an efficacy similar to that of classical antidepressants. In the present report, the effects of H. perforatum were studied on three animal models of depression: (i) an acute form of escape deficit (ED) induced by an unavoidable stress; (ii) a chronic model of ED, which can be maintained by the administration of mild stressors on alternate days; (iii) a model of anhedonia based on the finding that repeated stressors prevent the development of an appetitive behavior induced by vanilla sugar in satiated rats fed ad libitum. H. perforatum acutely protected animals from the sequelae of unavoidable stress; such an effect was partially prevented by the administration of SCH 23390 or (-)-pindolol. Moreover, H. perforatum reverted the ED maintained by repeated stressors and preserved the animal's capacity to learn to operate for earning a positive reinforcer. It was concluded that H. perforatum contains some active principle(s) endowed with antidepressant activity.