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

Department of Pharmacology, Government College of Pharmacy, Bangalore, India.
Journal of Neural Transmission (Impact Factor: 2.4). 02/2008; 115(1):35-42. DOI: 10.1007/s00702-007-0821-6
Source: PubMed


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 GABA(A) 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.

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    • "Oxolinic acid, a first generation quinolone, has been shown to exert stimulant effects on mice, due to the properties that classify it as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor (21). This stimulant effect is consistent with the findings of induced stress reduction studies using Euphorbia hirta (22–24). A common interaction site, the γ-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptor Cl− complex, has been identified (25,26). "
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    • "Stress is increasingly being recognized as the precipitant of several psychiatric illnesses including anxiety and depression (McEwen, 2000). In earlier studies, rats subjected to chronic immobilization stress (CIS) or forced swim stress (FSS) showed anxiety in the elevated plus maze (EPM) and the open eld test (OFT) (Anuradha et al., 2008; Govindarajan et al., "
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    ABSTRACT: Several drugs of herbal origin are known to possess anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. In a recent study, we showed that extracts from Euphorbia hirta L. (Euphorbiaceae) (Eh) demonstrated anxiolytic effects in rats subjected to chronic immobilization stress (CIS) but not in rats that underwent forced swim stress (FSS). Acetylcholine and the cholinergic system are known to be involved in anxiety. However, whether the cholinergic system is involved in the anxiolytic actions of Eh are not known. In the current study, we evaluated the effects of Eh treatment of rats subjected to either CIS or FSS on acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, and septum. CIS increased the AChE activity in all three regions, while Eh treatment restored it to normal levels. FSS increased the AChE activity only in the septum, and Eh treatment marginally restored this to normal levels. Thus, these results indicate the involvement of the cholinergic system in the behavioral effects of Euphorbia hirta.
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