Protective effect of Withania somnifera dunal root extract against protracted social isolation induced behavior in rats

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Oct-Dec;51(4):345-53.


This study investigated the effect of Withania somnifera Dunal (WS) root extract and diazepam in social isolation induced behavior such as anxiety and depression in rats. Rats were isolated for 6 weeks and the assessment of changed behavior were done on elevated plus maze (EPM) and forced swim test (FST). Isolation reared rats spent less time into the open arms on EPM and significantly increased immobility time in FST compared to group housed rats. WS (100, 200 or 500 mg/kg, oral) and diazepam (1 or 2 mg/kg, ip) dose dependently increased the time spent and entries into the open arms on EPM test and showed the anxiolytic activity. Subeffective dose of WS (50 mg/kg, oral) potentiated the anxiolytic action of diazepam (0.5, 1 or 2 mg/kg, ip). WS (100, 200 or 500 mg/kg, oral) also reduced the immobility time in FST, thus showed antidepressant effect in both group housed and social isolates. The investigations support the use of WS as a mood stabilizer in socially isolation behavior in Ayurveda.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Social Isolation*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Swimming
  • Withania*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Diazepam