The anxiolytic-like effects of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) and its four terpenoid components (ginkgolide-A, ginkgolide-B, ginkgolide-C, and bilobalide) were assessed using the elevated plus-maze test in mice. Administration of GBE as a single oral dose (0.5 or 1 g/kg, po) caused a state of suppressed motor activity and, thus, shortened the time spent in the open-sided arms. However, when GBE (0.063-1 g/kg, po) was administered daily for 7 days and the plus-maze test was carried out 24 h after the final administration, the time spent in the open-sided arms was prolonged, with the peak anxiolytic-like effect at 0.125 g/kg. A combination of seven-day administration of GBE (0.125 g/kg) and a single dose of diazepam (1 mg/ kg, po, 10 min before testing) enhanced the anxiolytic-like effect. Flumazenil (0.3 mg/kg, ip, 10 min before testing) blocked the effect of diazepam, but not of GBE. Daily administration of ginkgolide-A (1 or 2 mg/kg, po) resulted in an anxiolytic-like effect by the third treatment, with the maximal effect observed after the fifth administration. Neither ginkgolide-B, ginkgolide-C, nor bilobalide produced any anxiolytic-like effects. At doses higher than 0.5 g/kg, GBE not only inhibited motor activity but also suppressed active avoidance behavior, reduced caffeine-induced stimulation, and enhanced pentobarbital-induced sleep, while ginkgolide-A (up to 20 mg/kg) did not exhibit these effects. Diazepam (1 mg/kg) is known to enhance pentobarbital-induced sleep. These results suggest that GBE produces a significant anxiolytic-like effect following repeated administration and that ginkgolide-A is most likely responsible for this effect. There are also indications that although GBE exerts a sedative effect at comparatively higher doses, ginkgolide-A has a relatively weak tendency to produce benzodiazepine-like side effects.