Effect of Bacopa monniera on stress induced changes in plasma corticosterone and brain monoamines in rats

J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 May 22;111(3):671-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.01.025. Epub 2007 Jan 30.


Bacopa monniera (BM) is well known for its neuropharmacological effects. Our previous studies indicated the adaptogenic effect of standardized extract of BM in various stress models. In the present study, effect of BM was evaluated on acute stress (AS) and chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) induced changes in plasma corticosterone and monoamines-noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) in cortex and hippocampus regions of brain in rats. Panax root powder (Panax quinquefolium) was taken as standard. Subjecting animals to AS (immobilization for 150 min once only) and CUS (different stressors for 7 days) resulted in significant elevation in plasma corticosterone levels, which was significantly countered by treatment with BM at a dose of 40 and 80 mg/kg p.o. similar to the effects of Panax quinquefolium (PQ) at 100 mg/kg p.o. AS exposure significantly increased the levels of 5-HT and decreased NA content in both the brain regions while DA content was significantly increased in cortex and decreased in hippocampus regions. In CUS regimen, levels of NA, DA and 5-HT were significantly depleted in cortex and hippocampus regions of brain. Treatment with BM (40 and 80 mg/kg) attenuated the stress induced changes in levels of 5-HT and DA in cortex and hippocampus regions but was ineffective in normalizing the NA levels in AS model, whereas PQ treatment significantly reverted back the effects of stress. In CUS model, pretreatment with BM and PQ significantly elevated the levels of NA, DA and 5-HT levels in cortex and levels of NA and 5-HT in hippocampus regions. Hence, our study indicates that the adaptogenic activity of BM might be due to the normalization of stress induced alteration in plasma corticosterone and levels of monoamines like NA, 5-HT and DA in cortex and hippocampus regions of the brain, which are more vulnerable to stressful conditions analogous to the effects of PQ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adaptation, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Bacopa*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Corticosterone / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Panax
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine
  • Corticosterone
  • Norepinephrine