Protective effect of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) extract on 72-hour sleep deprivation-induced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage in mice

Planta Med. 2007 Oct;73(13):1358-64. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-990234. Epub 2007 Oct 4.


Sleep disruption or poor quality of sleep is a common problem associated with depression. Antidepressant drugs have been reported to improve the quality of sleep and behavior. The present study was undertaken to explore the therapeutic potential of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) on behavioral alterations and oxidative damage induced by sleep deprivation in mice. Male laca mice (n = 6 - 10 in each group) were sleep deprived for 72 hours using the grid suspended over water method. Standardized Hypericum perforatum extract and imipramine were administered for five days, starting two days before sleep deprivation. Alterations in body weight, motor activity, anxiety like behavior (mirror chamber, plus maze, zero maze) and oxidative stress parameters (reduced glutathione, catalase, lipid peroxidation and nitrite levels) were observed after drug treatment in sleep-deprived animals. 72-hour sleep deprivation significantly altered body weight, locomotor activity and produced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage (depleted reduced glutathione, catalase activity and increased lipid peroxidation and nitrite activity) as compared to the naïve (placed on sawdust) animals (P < 0.05). Treatment with either St. John's wort (200 and 400 mg/kg, P. O.) or with imipramine (10 mg/kg, I. P.) significantly improved body weight, locomotor activity, antianxiety and antioxidant effect as compared to the control group (sleep deprived) (P < 0.05). Co-administration of John's wort (200 mg/kg, P. O.) with imipramine (10 mg/kg, I. P.) further improved body weight, locomotor activity, antianxiety effect as well as reduced oxidative damage in sleep-deprived animal as compared to their effect per se (P < 0.05). The present study suggests that there is therapeutic potential of St. John's wort in the management of sleep deprivation-induced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Hypericum*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Sleep Deprivation


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Plant Extracts