Ethnopharmacological relevance: Magnolia officinalis Rehder and Wilson [Magnoliaceae] bark and Ziziphus spinosa (Buhge) Hu ex. Chen. [Fam. Rhamnaceae] seed have a history of use in traditional Asian medicine for mild anxiety, nervousness and sleep-related problems.
Aim of the study: To identify pharmacological targets, extracts of Magnolia officinalis (ME), Ziziphus spinosa (ZE), and a proprietary fixed combination (MZE) were tested for affinity with central nervous system receptors associated with relaxation and sleep.
Methods: In vitro radioligand binding and cellular functional assays were conducted on: adenosine A(1), dopamine (transporter, D(1), D(2S), D(3), D(4.4) and D(5)), serotonin (transporter, 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(1B), 5-HT(4e), 5-HT(6) and 5-HT(7)) and the GABA benzodiazepine receptor.
Results: Interactions were demonstrated with the adenosine A(1) receptor, dopamine transporter and dopamine D(5) receptor (antagonist activity), serotonin receptors (5-HT(1B) and 5-HT(6) antagonist activity) and the GABA benzodiazepine receptor at a concentration of 100 microg/ml or lower. ME had an affinity with adenosine A(1) (K(i) of 9.2+/-1.1 microg/ml) and potentiated the GABA activated chloride current at the benzodiazepine subunits of the GABA receptor (maximum effect at 50 microg/ml). ME had a modest antagonist action with 5-HT(6) and ZE with the 5-HT(1B) receptor.
Conclusion: The interactions in the receptor binding models are consistent with the traditional anxiolytic and sleep-inducing activities of Magnolia officinalis bark and Ziziphus spinosa seed.