Traditionally, Lactuca sativa (lettuce) has been recommended for its hypnotic property. The present study was planned to investigate sleep-prolonging effect of this plant. The hydro-alcoholic extract (HAE) of lettuce and its water fraction (WF), ethyl acetate fraction (EAF), and n-butanol fraction (NBF) were administrated (IP) to mice 30 min before the pentobarbital injection. Moreover, both in-vivo and in-vitro toxicity of the extracts were determined. The quality of HAE and NBF was also evaluated using HPLC fingerprint. The HAE prolonged the pentobarbital-induced sleep duration at dose of 400 mg/Kg. The NBF was the only fraction which could increase the sleep duration and decrease sleep latency. The effects of NBF were comparable to those of induced by diazepam. The LD50-value for HAE was found to be 4.8 g/Kg. No neurotoxic effect was observed either by HAE or by its fractions in cultured PC12 neuron-like cells. The results suggest that lettuce potentiates pentobarbital hypnosis without major toxic effect. The main component(s) responsible for this effect is most likely to be non-polar agent(s) which found in NBF of this plant.
Keywords: Lactuca sativa; Mice; PC12; Pentobarbital; Sleep.