Hydroethanolic extract of Carthamus tinctorius induces antidepressant-like effects: modulation by dopaminergic and serotonergic systems in tail suspension test in mice


1 Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia Branch, Islamic Azad University, Urmia, Iran

2 Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Science Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Objective(s): Studies indicate that major deficiency in the levels of monoaminergic transmitters is a reason for severe depression. On the other hand, it is shown that Carthamus tinctorius L. (CT) may improve neuropsychological injuries by regulation of the monoamine transporter action. Hence, the present study was undertaken to evaluate the involvement of monoaminergic systems in antidepressant-like effect of CT extract in the tail suspension test (TST) in mice.
Materials and Methods: The mice were intraperitoneally (IP) treated with CT extract (100–400 mg/kg) 1hr before the TST. To investigate the involvement of monoaminergic systems in antidepressant-like effect, the mice were treated with receptor antagonists 15 min before CT extract treatment (400 mg/kg, IP) and 1hr before the TST.
Results: Findings showed that CT extract (100–400 mg/kg, IP), dose-dependently induced antidepressant-like effect (P<0.001), but it was not accompanied by alterations in spontaneous locomotor activity in the open-field test. Pretreatment of mice with SCH23390, sulpiride, haloperidol, WAY100135, cyproheptadine, ketanserin and p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) inhibited the antidepressant-like effect of CT extract (400 mg/kg, IP), but not with prazosin and yohimbine. Co-administration of CT extract (100 mg/kg, IP) with sub-effective doses of fluoxetine (5 mg/kg, IP) or imipramine (5 mg/kg, IP) increased their antidepressant-like response.
Conclusion: Our findings firstly showed that components (especially N-Hexadecanoic acid) of CT extract induce antidepressant-like effects by interaction with dopaminergic (D1 and D2) and serotonergic (5HT1A, 5-HT2A receptors) systems. These findings validate the folk use of CT extract for the management of depression.


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