Linalool oxide is a monoterpene that is found in some species of aromatic plants. The effects of the inhalation of linalool oxide (0.65%, 1.25%, 2.5% and 5.0% w/w) in the elevated plus-maze and light/dark box tests as animal models of anxiety were investigated in adult male mice and compared with the effects of the reference anxiolytic diazepam (0.5 and 2.0 mg/kg), administered intraperitoneally. Additionally, the effects of inhaled linalool oxide were investigated in the rotarod test. Linalool oxide significantly increased the number of visits to the open arms of the elevated plus-maze and the amount of time spent there as well as the total number of entries. In the light/dark box test, inhalation of linalool oxide led to an increase in the time spent by the mice in the brightly-lit chamber and in the number of times the animal crossed from one compartment to another. Performance on the rotarod was unaffected. Thus, inhaled linalool oxide was found to have anxiolytic properties in both animal models, without causing any motor deficit. These results suggest that inhalation of linalool oxide may be a useful means of counteracting anxiety.
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