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J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Feb 13;145(3):737-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.11.040. Epub 2012 Dec 10.

Antidepressant-like action of the bark ethanolic extract from Tabebuia avellanedae in the olfactory bulbectomized mice.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Center of Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Campus Universitário-Trindade, 88040-900 Florianópolis-SC, Brazil.



Tabebuia avellanedae Lorentz ex Griseb is a plant employed in tropical America folk medicine for the treatment of several diseases, including depressive disorders.


To investigate the ability of Tabebuia avellanedae ethanolic extract (EET) administered chronically to cause an antidepressant-like effect in the tail suspension test (TST), a predictive test of antidepressant activity, and to reverse behavioral (hyperactivity, anhedonic-like behavior and increased immobility time in the TST) and biochemical changes induced by olfactory bulbectomy (OB), a model of depression, in mice.


Mice were submitted to OB to induce depressive-related behaviors, which were evaluated in the open-field test (hyperactivity), splash test (loss of motivational and self-care behavior indicative of an anhedonic-like behavior) and TST (increased immobility time). Phosphorylation levels of Akt, GSK-3β, ERK1/2 and CREB, as well as BDNF immunocontent, were evaluated in the hippocampus of bulbectomized mice or sham-operated mice treated for 14 days by p.o. route with EET or vehicle.


EET (10 and 30mg/kg) given 14 days by p.o route to mice reduced the immobility time in the TST without altering locomotor activity, an indicative of an antidepressant-like effect. EET per se increased both CREB (Ser(133)) and GSK-3β (Ser(9)) phosphorylation (at doses of 10-30 and 30mg/kg, respectively) in sham-operated mice. OB caused hyperactivity, loss of motivational and self-care behavior, increased immobility time in the TST and an increase in CREB and ERK1 phosphorylation, as well as BDNF immunocontent. EET abolished all these OB-induced alterations except the increment of CREB phosphorylation. Akt (Ser(473)) and ERK2 phosphorylation levels were not altered in any group.


EET ability to abolish the behavioral changes induced by OB was accompanied by modulation of ERK1 and BDNF signaling pathways, being a promising target of EET. Results indicate that this plant could constitute an attractive strategy for the management of depressive disorders, once more validating the traditional use of this plant.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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