Our aim was to investigate the possible effects of regular drinking of Rosmarinus officinalis L. leaf infusion on behavior and on AChE activity of mice. Rosemary tea (2% w/w) phytochemical profile was investigated through LC/DAD/ESI-MS(n). Adult male mice were randomly divided into two groups: "Rosemary-treated" that received orally the rosemary tea for 4weeks and "control" that received drinking water. The effects of regular drinking of rosemary tea on behavioral parameters were assessed by passive avoidance, elevated plus maze and forced swimming tests. Moreover, its effects on cerebral and liver cholinesterase (ChE) isoforms activity were examined colorimetricaly. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of diterpenes, flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic derivatives in rosemary tea; the major compounds were quantitatively determined. Its consumption rigorously affected anxiety/fear and depression-like behavior of mice, though memory/learning was unaffected. ChE isoforms activity was significantly decreased in brain and liver of "rosemary treated" mice. In order to explain the tissue ChE inhibition, principal component analysis, pharmacophore alignment and molecular docking were used to explore a possible relationship between main identified compounds of rosemary tea, i.e. rosmarinic acid, luteolin-7-O-glucuronide, caffeic acid and known AChE inhibitors. Results revealed potential common pharmacophores of the phenolic components with the inhibitors. Our findings suggest that rosemary tea administration exerts anxiolytic and antidepressant effects on mice and inhibits ChE activity; its main phytochemicals may function in a similar way as inhibitors.
Keywords: Cholinesterase; Elevated plus maze test; Forced swimming test; Molecular docking; Rosmarinus officinalis; Step-through passive avoidance test.
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