Recently, there have been studies that examined the relationship between neuroinflammation and anxiety disorder. Herein, we investigated the anxiolytic effect of a well-studied medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory properties, Magnolia obovata, by conducting cellular and animal studies. At the cellular level, the ethanol extract of M. obovata leaves demonstrated inhibitory effects on the production of nitric oxide and inflammatory cytokines and proteins in cultured BV-2 cells. The extract also enhanced GABA-benzodiazepine receptor activity by increasing chloride ion influx in primary cultured neuronal cells. We also examined the anxiolytic effect of the extract in imprinting control region male mice by conducting several behavioral tests. The mice were administered daily oral dose of M. obovata extract (25 mg/kg and 50 mg/kg) for 2 weeks. The extract increased the number of entries and time spent in open arms in the elevated plus maze test and decreased locomotor activity in the spontaneous locomotor activity test, thus implying that the extract ameliorated anxiety levels in mice. Furthermore, we found that the extract inhibited the expression of inflammatory proteins and cytokines and enhanced the expression of GABA-benzodiazepine receptor. These results suggest that the ethanol extract of M. obovata leaves may have an anxiolytic effect through enhancement of the GABAergic system and anti-neuroinflammatory mechanisms.
Keywords: Anxiety disorder; GABA-benzodiazepine receptor; Magnolia obovata; Neuroinflammation.
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