Carvacrol, a monoterpenic phenol present in essential oils of the Labiatae family, has been used through the ages as a source of flavor in food and for medicinal purposes. Borneol is a monoterpene found in several species of Artemisia andDipterocarpaceae, used for anxiety, pain and anesthesia in traditional Chinese. Citral, a mixture of two geometrical isomers (neral and geranial), is one of the most important compounds in some citrus oils and has central nervous system (CNS) properties. The anticonvulsant effect of carvacrol (CARV), (-)-borneol (BOR) and citral (CIT) was investigated in two animal models of epilepsy. Mice were pretreated with CARV, BOR or CIT (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg, i.p.) 30 min before pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) or maximal electroshock (MES) tests, the two most important animal epilepsy tests. The latency for development of convulsions and protection percentage was recorded. In order to investigate the involvement of GABAergic system, flumazenil was utilized. These monoterpenes, CARV in a higher, but not in a lower dose (p < 0.001), BOR and CIT in all doses (p < 0.05 or p < 0.001), were capable of promoting an increase of latency for the development of convulsions induced by PTZ. Additionally, these compounds were efficient in preventing the tonic convulsions (p < 0.05) induced by MES. However, the GABAergic neurotransmitter system might be involved, at least in BOR effects. Henceforth, our results suggest that CARV, BOR and CIT possess anticonvulsant activity effect against PTZ-induced convulsions and MES.
Key words: Carvacrol, (-)-borneol, citral, anticonvulsant activity.
CNS, Central nervous system; CARV, carvacrol; BOR, (-)-borneol; CIT, citral; PTZ, pentylenetetrazole; MES, maximal electroshock; PHE,phenytoin; DZP, diazepam; FLU, flumazenil; THE, tonic hindlimb extension;GABAA-BZD, γ-amino-butyric acid-benzodiazepine.
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