Anti-oxidative and DNA protecting effects of flavonoids-rich Scutellaria lateriflora

Nat Prod Commun. 2013 Oct;8(10):1415-8.


Scutellaria lateriflora (American skullcap), a native plant of North America, has been used by Americans and Europeans as a nerve tonic for more than 200 years. In vivo studies have shown anxiolytic activity ofS. lateriflora in animals and humans. However, the neuroprotective mechanisms ofS. lateriflora are not fully understood. Oxidative stress plays a vital role in the neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases such as anxiety, Alzheimer's disease, depression, and Parkinson's disease. Bioactive compounds present in various medicinal plants neutralize or scavenge toxic free radicals and thus suppress oxidative stress. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the antioxidant effects of S. lateriflora. The antioxidant potential of aqueous or ethanolic extracts of S. lateriflora was determined in mouse brain tissue using various biochemical assays. Protective effects of S. lateriflora against oxidative stress induced DNA fragmentation was determined using plasmid DNA. The ethanolic and aqueous extracts scavenged the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals. The ethanolic extract reduced tert-butyl peroxide-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipid peroxides in the mouse brain homogenates. Furthermore, the ethanolic extract of S. lateriflora protected hydrogen peroxide-UV induced cleavage of supercoiled plasmid DNA. In conclusion, S. lateriflora exhibited significant antioxidant effects. The current findings posit S. lateriflora as one of the potential experimental herbal drugs that should be screened for its therapeutic potential against various oxidative stress associated mental disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Neuroprotective Agents / analysis*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Scutellaria / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents