Effect of lavender oil on motor function and dopamine receptor expression in the olfactory bulb of mice

J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Aug 17;125(1):31-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.06.017. Epub 2009 Jun 26.


Aim of the study: Although treatment with the essential oil of lavender induces neuroemotional changes, there is a lack of data regarding its specific effects on neurotransduction, especially dopaminergic neurotransduction. We investigated the relationship between altered motor activity and changes in the expression of dopamine receptors (DR), particularly the receptor subtypes D2 and D3, in lavender oil-treated mice.

Materials and methods: After the administration of lavender oil (intraperitoneal injections of 10-1000 mg/kg lavender oil once per day for 5 days), motor coordination and dopamine receptor expression were examined in the olfactory bulb and the striatum of the mouse brain.

Results: After 5 days, mice treated with 1000 mg/kg lavender oil showed significantly increased rotarod activity when compared to controls. Although DRD2 expression showed no change in the olfactory bulb or striatum of lavender-treated mice, DRD3 expression increased significantly in the olfactory bulb; this increase was dose-dependent and was observed at both the mRNA and protein levels.

Conclusions: These data indicate that altered dopamine D3 receptor subtype homeostasis in the olfactory bulb may contribute to lavender oil-induced behavioral change.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / enzymology
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / drug effects*
  • Olfactory Bulb / enzymology
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Dopamine / genetics
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • lavender oil