Rhodiola Rosea (R. Rosea) is a plant used in traditional popular medicine to enhance cognition and physical performance. R. Rosea medicinal properties have been related to its capability to act as an adaptogen, i.e., a substance able to increase the organism's resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stressors in a non-specific way. These adaptogen properties have been mainly attributed to the glycoside salidroside, one of the bioactive compounds present in the standardized extracts of R. Rosea. Here, we aimed to investigate whether a single dose of salidroside is able to affect memory and emotional behavior in wild type adult mice. We performed fear conditioning to assess cued and contextual memory, elevated plus maze and open field to evaluate anxiety, and tail suspension test to evaluate depression. Our results showed that a single i.p. administration of salidroside was able to enhance fear memory and exerted an anxiolytic and antidepressant effect. These data confirmed the adaptogenic effect of R. Rosea bioactive compounds in animal models and suggest that salidroside might represent an interesting pharmacological tool to ameliorate cognition and counteract mood disorders.
Keywords: Adaptogen; Rhodiola rosea; anxiety; depression; memory; salidroside.