Involvement of monoaminergic system in the antidepressant-like effect of the hydroalcoholic extract of Siphocampylus verticillatus

Life Sci. 2002 Feb 8;70(12):1347-58. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(01)01498-9.


The antidepressant-like effect of the hydroalcoholic extract obtained from aerial parts of Siphocampylus verticillatus, a Brazilian medicinal plant, was investigated in two models of depression in mice and against synaptosomal uptake of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. The immobility times in the forced swimming test (FST) and in the tail suspension test (TST) were significantly reduced by the extract (dose range 100-1000 mg/kg, i.p.), without accompanying changes in ambulation when assessed in an open-field. In addition when given orally the extract was also effective in reducing the immobility time in the TST. The efficacy of extract in the TST was comparable to that of the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine (15 mg/kg, i.p.) and with fluoxetine (32 mg/kg, i.p.). The anti-immobility effect of the extract (600 mg/kg, i.p.) assessed in the TST was not affected by pre-treatment with naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.p., a non-selective opioid receptor antagonist) or L-arginine (750 mg/kg, i.p., a nitric oxide precursor). In contrast, the extract (600 mg/kg, i.p.) antidepressant-like effect was significantly reduced by pre-treatment of animals with p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA, 100 mg/kg, i.p., an inhibitor of serotonin synthesis), sulpiride (50 mg/kg, i.p., a selective D2 receptor antagonist), prazosin (62.5 microg/kg, i.p., an alpha1 adrenoreceptor antagonist) or by guanosine 5'-monophosphate (GMP, 250 mg/kg, i.p., a nucleotide known to block some actions elicited by NMDA). The biochemical data show that the extract of S. verticillatus inhibited in a graded manner the uptake of monoamines. However, at the IC50 level, the extract was approximately 3.2 to 3.4-fold more potent and also more efficacious in inhibiting the synaptosomal uptake of noradrenaline and serotonin than dopamine. Taken together these data demonstrate that the extract of S. verticillatus elicited a significant antidepressant-like effect, when assessed in the TST and FST in mice. Its action seems to involve an interaction with adrenergic, dopaminergic, glutamatergic and serotonergic systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Female
  • Hindlimb Suspension
  • Mice
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Catecholamine / agonists
  • Receptors, Catecholamine / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Catecholamine / metabolism*
  • Swimming
  • Synaptosomes / drug effects
  • Synaptosomes / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Catecholamine