Effects of Glycyrrhizae Radix on Repeated Restraint Stress-induced Neurochemical and Behavioral Responses

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2010 Dec;14(6):371-6. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2010.14.6.371. Epub 2010 Dec 31.


Glycyrrhizae radix (GR) is an herbal medicine that is commonly used in the East Asia for treating a variety of diseases, including stomach disorders. The objective of the present study was to examine the anti-stress effects of GR on repeated stress-induced alterations of anxiety, learning and memory in rats. Restraint stress was administered for 14 days (2 h/day) to the rats in the Control and GR groups (400 mg/kg/day, PO). Starting on the eighth day, the rats were tested for spatial memory on the Morris water maze test (MW) and for anxiety on the elevated plus maze (EPM). We studied the changes of the expressions of cholineacetyl transferase (ChAT) and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the locus coerleus (LC) using immunohistochemistry. The results showed that the rats treated with GR had significantly reduced stress-induced deficits on their learning and memory on the spatial memory tasks. In addition, the ChAT immunoreactivities were increased. Gor the EPM, treatment with GR increased the time spent in the open arms (p<0.001) as compared to that of the control group. Moreover, GR treatment also normalized the increases of the TH expression in the LC (p<0.001). In conclusion, administration of GR improved spatial learning and memory and reduced stress-induced anxiety. Thus, the present results suggest that GR has the potential to attenuate the behavioral and neurochemical impairments caused by stress.

Keywords: Elevated plus maze (EPM); Glycyrrhizae radix (GR); Morris water maze (WM).