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Nutr Neurosci. 2008 Dec;11(6):269-76. doi: 10.1179/147683008X344165.

Antidepressant-like effects of a cocoa polyphenolic extract in Wistar-Unilever rats.

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  • 1ETAP-Applied Ethology, Centre de Recherche en Pharmacologie, Cancérologie & Pathologies Humaines et Nutrition-Santé, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France.


Depression is a major public health problem affecting about 12% of the world population. Drugs exist but they have many side effects. In the last few years, natural substances (e.g. flavonoids) have been tested to cure such disorders. Cocoa polyphenolic extract is a complex compound prepared from non-roasted cocoa beans containing high levels of flavonoids. The antidepressant-like effect of cocoa polyphenolic extract was evaluated using the forced swimming test in rats. Cocoa polyphenolic extract significantly reduced the duration of immobility at both doses of 24 mg/kg/14 days and 48 mg/kg/14 days, although no change of motor dysfunction was observed with the two doses tested in the open field. The results of the forced swimming test after a subchronic treatment and after an additional locomotor activity test confirm the assumption that the antidepressant-like effect of cocoa polyphenolic extract in the forced swimming test model is specific. Further, it can be speculated that this effect might be related to its content of active polyphenols.

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