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Planta Med. 2011 Feb;77(3):236-41. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1250315. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Anxiolytic effects of a semipurified constituent of guaraná seeds on rats in the elevated T-maze test.

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Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, State University of Maringá, Maringá, PR, Brazil.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of chronic administration of a semi-purified extract (Purified Extract A--PEA; 4, 8, or 16 mg/kg) of PAULLINIA CUPANA (guaraná) seeds on rats submitted to the elevated T-maze (ETM) model of generalized anxiety and panic disorders. The selective serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine (PAR; 3 mg/kg), was used as a positive control. To evaluate possible serotonergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission involvement in the action of PEA during the ETM test, ineffective doses of metergoline (MET; 5-HT (2A/2C) antagonist receptor) or sulpiride (SUL; dopaminergic receptor antagonist) were acutely administered together with the PEA. The locomotion of the rats was assessed in a circular arena following each drug treatment. Both PEA (8 and 16 mg/kg) and PAR (3 mg/kg) increased one-way escape latencies from the open arm of the ETM, indicating a panicolytic effect compared to the control group. MET, in higher doses (1, 2 or 3 mg/kg), produced a panicolytic effect in the ETM test, whereas SUL did not (10, 20 or 40 mg/kg). The panicolytic effect produced by PEA (8 mg/kg) was blocked by both MET (2 mg/kg) and SUL (20 mg/kg), whereas the panicolytic effect produced by PAR (3 mg/kg) was blocked only by MET (2 mg/kg). These results show that chronic treatment with PEA produces a panicolytic effect during the ETM test, and that the dopaminergic and the serotonergic neurotransmission systems are involved in this effect.

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