Effect of Withania somnifera on forced swimming test induced immobility in mice and its interaction with various drugs

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006 Oct-Dec;50(4):409-15.


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the antidepressant action of Withania somnifera (WS) as well as its interaction with the conventional antidepressant drugs and to delineate the possible mechanism of its antidepressant action using forced swimming model in mice. Effect of different doses of WS, fluoxetine and imipramine were studied on forced swimming test induced mean immobility time (MIT). Moreover effect of WS 100 mg/kg, i.p. was observed at different time intervals. Effect produced by combination of sub therapeutic doses of WS with imipramine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) as well as fluoxetine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) were also observed. Effect of WS (100 mg/kg, i.p.) as well as combination of WS (37.5 mg/kg, i.p.) with either imipramine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) or fluoxetine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) were observed in mice pretreated with reserpine (2 mg/kg, i.p.) and clonidine (0.15 mg/kg, i.p.). Effects of prazosin (3 mg/kg, i.p.) or haloperidol (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.) pre-treatment were also observed on WS induced decrease in MIT. WS produced dose dependent decrease in MIT. Maximum effect in MIT was observed after 30 min of treatment with WS 100 mg/kg, i.p. Combination of WS (37.5 mg/kg, i.p.) with imipramine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) or fluoxetine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) also produced significant decrease in the MIT. Clonidine and reserpine induced increase in MIT, was significantly reversed by treatment with WS (100 mg/kg, i.p.) as well as combination of WS (37.5 mg/kg, i.p.) with either imipramine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.) or fluoxetine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.). Pre-treatment with prazosin but not haloperidol, significantly antagonized the WS (100 mg/kg, i.p.) induced decrease in MIT. It is concluded that, WS produced significant decrease in MIT in mice which could be mediated partly through a adrenoceptor as well as alteration in the level of central biogenic amines.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic / pharmacology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Clonidine / pharmacology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology
  • Imipramine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Prazosin / pharmacology
  • Reserpine / pharmacology
  • Swimming / physiology*
  • Withania / chemistry*


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Antidepressive Agents, Tricyclic
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Fluoxetine
  • Reserpine
  • Clonidine
  • Imipramine
  • Prazosin