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J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2018 Jul 30;24(3):490-501. doi: 10.5056/jnm17035.

The Protective Effect of Melissa officinalis L. in Visceral Hypersensitivity in Rat Using 2 Models of Acid-induced Colitis and Stress-induced Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Possible Role of Nitric Oxide Pathway.

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Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Medicinal Plants Research Center, Institute of Medicinal Plants, ACECR, Karaj, Iran.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Gastrointestinal Pharmacology Interest Group (GPIG), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Tehran, Iran.
Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran.
Medical Biology Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran.
Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Ghazvin University of Medical Sciences, Ghazvin, Iran.
Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



The aim of present study is to estimate the effects of Melissa officinalis L. (MO) on visceral hypersensitivity (VH), defecation pattern and biochemical factors in 2 experimental models of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and the possible role of nitric oxide.


Two individual models of IBS were induced in male Wistar-albino rats. In the acetic acid model, the animals were exposed to rectal distension and abdominal withdrawal reflex, and the defecation patterns were determined. In the restraint stress model, the levels of TNF-α, myeloperoxidase, lipid peroxidation, and antioxidant powers were determined in the (removed) colon. Rats had been treated with MO, L-NG-nitroarginine methyl ester (L-NAME), aminoguanidine (AG), MO + AG, or MO + L-NAME in the mentioned experimental models.


Hypersensitive response to rectal distension and more stool defecation in control rats have been observed in comparison to shams. MO-300 significantly reduced VH and defecation frequency in comparison to controls. VH and defecation pattern did not show significant change in AG + MO and L-NAME + MO groups compared to controls. Also, significant reduction in TNF-α, myeloperoxidase, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and an increase in antioxidant power in MO-300 group was recorded compared to controls. AG + MO and L-NAME + MO groups showed a reverse pattern compared to MO-300 group.


MO can ameliorate IBS by modulating VH and defecation patterns. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties along with its effect on the nitrergic pathway seem to play important roles in its pharmacological activity.


Irritable bowel syndrome; Lemon balm; Melissa officinalis; Nitric oxide; Visceral hypersensitivity

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