Anticonvulsant activity of β-caryophyllene against pentylenetetrazol-induced seizures

Epilepsy Behav. 2016 Mar;56:26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.12.040. Epub 2016 Jan 29.


Increasing evidence suggests that plant-derived extracts and their isolated components are useful for treatment of seizures and, hence, constitute a valuable source of new antiepileptic drugs with improved efficacy and better adverse effect profile. β-Caryophyllene is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene that occurs in a wide range of plant species and displays a number of biological actions, including neuroprotective activity. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that β-caryophyllene displays anticonvulsant effects. In addition, we investigated the effect of β-caryophyllene on behavioral parameters and on seizure-induced oxidative stress. Adult C57BL/6 mice received increasing doses of β-caryophyllene (0, 10, 30, or 100mg/kg). After 60 min, we measured the latencies to myoclonic and generalized seizures induced by pentylenetetrazole (PTZ, 60 mg/kg). We found that β-caryophyllene increased the latency to myoclonic jerks induced by PTZ. This result was confirmed by electroencephalographic analysis. In a separate set of experiments, we found that mice treated with an anticonvulsant dose of β-caryophyllene (100mg/kg) displayed an improved recognition index in the object recognition test. This effect was not accompanied by behavioral changes in the open-field, rotarod, or forced swim tests. Administration of an anticonvulsant dose of β-caryophyllene (100mg/kg) did not prevent PTZ-induced oxidative stress (i.e., increase in the levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances or the decrease in nonprotein thiols content). Altogether, the present data suggest that β-caryophyllene displays anticonvulsant activity against seizures induced by PTZ in mice. Since no adverse effects were observed in the same dose range of the anticonvulsant effect, β-caryophyllene should be further evaluated in future development of new anticonvulsant drugs.

Keywords: Cannabinoids; Convulsion; EEG; Natural product; PTZ; Phytomedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Convulsants*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electroencephalography / drug effects
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / chemically induced
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / drug therapy
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / psychology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pentylenetetrazole*
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Postural Balance / drug effects
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / drug therapy*
  • Seizures / psychology
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Swimming / psychology


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Convulsants
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • caryophyllene
  • Pentylenetetrazole