Antidepressant-like effects of piperine and its derivative, antiepilepsirine

J Asian Nat Prod Res. Apr-Aug 2007;9(3-5):421-30. doi: 10.1080/10286020500384302.


In the present study, antidepressant-like effects of piperine (PIP) and its derivative, antiepilepsirine (AES), were investigated in two depressive models: forced swimming test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST). To further explore the mechanisms underlying their antidepressant-like activities, the brain monoamine levels and monoamine oxidase A and B (MAO-A and MAO-B) activities were also determined. The research results for the first time indicated that after two weeks of chronic administration, PIP and AES at doses of 10-20 mg/kg significantly reduced the duration of immobility in both FST and TST, without accompanying changes in locomotor activity in the open-field test. But at the dose of 80 mg/kg, the antidepressant activity of both PIP and AES returned to the control level in the TST and FST. In the monoamine assay, chronic AES administration significantly elevated the dopamine level in striatum, hypothalamus and hippocampus, and also increased the serotonin level in the hypothalamus and hippocampus. In contrast, chronic treatment of PIP only enhanced the serotonin level in the hypothalamus and hippocampus but did not influence the dopamine level. Moreover, both PIP and AES showed no effects on level of noradrenaline in these brain regions. The MAO activity assay also indicated that PIP and AES showed a minor MAO inhibitory activity. In the present study, we demonstrated that the antidepressant-like effects of PIP and AES might depend on the augmentation of the neurotransmitter synthesis or the reduction of the neurotransmitter reuptake. Antidepressant properties of PIP were supposed to be mediated via the regulation of serotonergic system, whereas the mechanisms of antidepressant action of AES might be due to its dual regulation of both serotonergic and dopaminergic systems.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Biogenic Monoamines / analysis
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / analysis
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*


  • Alkaloids
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Fluoxetine
  • ilepcimide
  • piperine