Antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like activities of an oil extract of propolis in rats

Phytomedicine. 2014 Sep 25;21(11):1466-72. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jul 7.


Purpose: Propolis biological effects are mainly attributed to its polyphenolic constituents such as flavonoids and phenolic acids that were recently described in the chemical composition of an extract of propolis obtained with edible vegetal oil (OEP) by our group. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of OEP on the behavior of rats.

Materials and methods: An in vivo open field (OF), elevated Plus-maze (EPM), and forced swimming (FS) tests were performed to evaluate locomotor activity, anxiolytic- and antidepressant effects of the extract. Besides, oxidative stress levels were measured in rat blood samples after the behavioral assays by evaluation of the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and nitric oxide levels.

Results: OEP increased locomotion in the OF test (50mg/kg) and central locomotion and open arm entries in the OF and EPM tests (10-50mg/kg) and decreased the immobility time in the FS test (10-50mg/kg). Moreover, OEP reduced nitric oxide levels in response to swim stress induced in rats.

Conclusion: OEP exerted stimulant, anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on the Central Nervous System and antioxidant activity in rats, highlighting propolis as a potential therapeutic compound for behavior impairment of anxiety and depression.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Oil extract of propolis; Oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Propolis