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.
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