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: 3). 07/2012; 143(2):592-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.07.022
Source: PubMed


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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    • "The aqueous crude extract from these plants has been used for centuries in traditional Mexican medicine as a remedy for reproductive impairments, anxiety, and mood disorders [16– 19]. Recently, the aqueous extracts of M. tomentosa [20] and M. frutescens [21] were reported to produce anxiolytic-like effects that are similar to diazepam in Wistar rats, and the participation of í µí»¾-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA A ) receptors in their anxiolytic-like effect was identified. Nonetheless, although some anxiolytic-like effects of M. frutescens extract have been corroborated in male rats, the anxiolytic-like effects of M. frutescens and M. grandiflora in the female genus remain unexplored. "
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    ABSTRACT: In previous studies, the anxiolytic-like effects of Montanoa tomentosa and Montanoa frutescens were reported in male rats, but the potential anxiolytic-like effects of Montanoa plants during the different phases of the ovarian cycle in rats remain to be explored. The anxiolytic-like effects of the aqueous crude extracts of M. frutescens (25 and 50 mg/kg) and M. grandiflora (25 and 50 mg/kg) in the elevated plus maze were investigated in Wistar rats during the estrous cycle and compared with 2 mg/kg diazepam as a reference anxiolytic drug. To investigate any motor effect (i.e., hyperactivity, no changes, or hypoactivity) associated with the treatments, the rats were evaluated in the open field test. The M. frutescens (25 and 50 mg/kg) and M. grandiflora (50 mg/kg) extracts exerted anxiolytic-like effects during the metestrus-diestrus phase, similar to diazepam, without disrupting spontaneous motor activity. No significant effects of the extracts were detected in either behavioral test during the proestrus-estrus phase, whereas diazepam produced motor hypoactivity in the open field test. These results indicate that the M. frutescens and M. grandiflora extracts possess anxiolytic-like effects that depend on the ovarian cycle phase, supporting the Mexican ancient medicinal use of these plants to ameliorate anxiety disorders.
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    • "In the present study, as the stress hormone corticosterone was measured as the rats were subjected to both EPM and OF tests. These two tests were performed in two adjacent rooms, the delay time was less than one minute, and we thought that these procedures might not influence the effectiveness of the drug or plasma corticosterone concentrations, which were also used by other researchers [34, 35]. Our data showed that valtrate (10 mg/kg), a dose which produced anxiolytic activity in the behavioural experiments, attenuated the activity of HPA axis by reducing the corticosterone response to the stress of exposure to the elevated plus maze. "
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    • "In this respect, several plants are traditionally and clinically used for the management of neurological disorders. From our previous research and others, several plants and herb preparations were demonstrated to protect against neuronal damage [7], Parkinson and Alzheimer' disease [8] [9], to improve neuronal differentiation [10], and to act against depression [11] [12], epilepsy [13], and anxiety [14]. "
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