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Anxiolytic-like effect of Carvacrol (5-isopropyl-2-methylphenol) in mice: involvement with GABAergic transmission

Authors

  • Francisca Helvira Cavalcante Melo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Rua Cel. Nunes de Melo 1127, 60430-270 Fortaleza, Brazil
      Correspondence and reprints:
      helvira83@hotmail.com
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  • Edith Teles Venâncio,

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Rua Cel. Nunes de Melo 1127, 60430-270 Fortaleza, Brazil
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  • Damião Pergentino De Sousa,

    1. Department of Physiology, Federal University of Sergipe CEP 49100-000 São Cristóvão, Sergipe, Brazil
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  • Marta Maria De França Fonteles,

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Rua Cel. Nunes de Melo 1127, 60430-270 Fortaleza, Brazil
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  • Silvânia Maria Mendes De Vasconcelos,

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Rua Cel. Nunes de Melo 1127, 60430-270 Fortaleza, Brazil
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  • Glauce Socorro Barros Viana,

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Rua Cel. Nunes de Melo 1127, 60430-270 Fortaleza, Brazil
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  • Francisca Cléa Florenço De Sousa

    1. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Rua Cel. Nunes de Melo 1127, 60430-270 Fortaleza, Brazil
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Correspondence and reprints:
helvira83@hotmail.com

Abstract

Carvacrol (5-isopropyl-2-methylphenol) is a monoterpenic phenol present in the essencial oil of many plants. It is the major component of the essential oil fraction of oregano and thyme. This work presents the behavioral effects of carvacrol in animal models of elevated plus maze (EPM), open field, Rotarod and barbiturate-induced sleeping time tests in mice. Carvacrol (CVC) was administered orally, in male mice, at single doses of 12.5; 25 and 50 mg/kg while diazepam 1 or 2 mg/kg was used as standard drug and flumazenil (2.5 mg/kg) was used to elucidate the possible anxiolytic mechanism of CVC on the plus maze test. The results showed that CVC, at three doses, had no effect on the spontaneous motor activity in the Rotarod test nor in the number of squares crossed in the open-field test. However, CVC decreased the number of groomings in the open-field test. In the plus maze test, CVC, at three doses significantly increased all the observed parameters in the EPM test and flumazenil was able to reverse the effects of diazepam and CVC. Therefore, CVC did not alter the sleep latency and sleeping time in the barbiturate-induced sleeping time test. These results show that CVC presents anxiolytic effects in the plus maze test which are not influenced by the locomotor activity in the open-field test.

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