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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jun;75(3):557-64.

Long-term effects of an Apocynum venetum extract on brain monoamine levels and beta-AR density in rats.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Universit√§tsklinikum Muenster, Domagkstrasse 12, 48149 M√ľnster, Germany.


The present study was designed to get further insight into the mode of antidepressant action of an extract prepared of the leaves of Apocynum venetum L. (AV). To evaluate biochemical changes, we used a high-performance liquid chromatography system to examine the effects of short-term (2 weeks) and long-term (8 weeks) administration of imipramine (15 mg/kg po) and an AV-extract (15, 60 and 250 mg/kg) on regional levels of serotonin (5-HT), norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA) and their metabolites in the rat hypothalamus, striatum and hippocampus. Pronounced changes in 5-HT, NE and DA levels were detected mainly after 8 weeks of daily imipramine treatment. Similar to imipramine, AV-extract reduced NE and DA concentrations after 8 weeks, whereas it failed to affect 5-HT levels. We speculate that the decrease in NE levels after chronic AV treatment might be based partly on the subsensitivity of presynaptic alpha(2)-receptors. In addition to the determination of central monoamine concentrations, quantitative radioligand receptor-binding studies were used to examine the effects of long-term administration of imipramine and AV-extract on beta-adrenergic binding in rat frontal cortex. [125I]CYP binding to beta-adrenergic receptors was found to be decreased after 8 weeks treatment with imipramine, whereas AV-extract had no effect on beta-receptor binding.

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