Effect of hydroalcoholic extract of leaves of Colocasia esculenta on marble-burying behavior in mice: Implications for obsessive-compulsive disorder

Pharm Biol. 2015 Aug;53(8):1239-42. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2015.1014923. Epub 2015 Apr 17.


Context: Over the past decades, the inhibition of spontaneous burying of glass marbles by mice has been used as an index of anxiolytic drug action in the so-called marble-burying test. Although Colocasia esculenta Linn. (Araceae), commonly known as elephant ear (English), possesses several medicinal properties, little is known for its use in neurological activity.

Objective: The current research evaluated the anti-obsessive-compulsive disorder (anti-compulsive) activity of the hydroalcoholic extract of leaves of Colocasia esculenta (HECE) for the first time using the marble-burying behavior test in mice.

Materials and methods: In the present study, the effect of HECE (25 and 50 mg/kg) intraperitoneally (i.p.) was examined using the marble-burying behavior test, which is an animal model of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), using Swiss albino mice.

Results and discussion: The acute toxicity studies showed that the LD50 value of the HECE in mice was 1000 mg/kg by i.p. route. The effect of HECE (25 and 50 mg/kg, i.p.) was characterized by significant reduction in the number of buried marbles as compared with the control group (p < 0.001). The effect of HECE was comparable with that of fluoxetine (5 mg/kg, i.p.) - a reference standard drug used in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (p < 0.001). Fluoxetine and HECE do not produce any overt motor dysfunction.

Conclusions: The results of the study for the first time show that the plant possesses anti-compulsive activity, confirming the traditional claims. Future research should focus on the identification and the anti-compulsive activity of the constituents from this plant.

Keywords: Fluoxetine; marble-burying behavior; preliminary phytochemical screening.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Colocasia*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Leaves*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Plant Extracts