JOURNAL ARTICLE

Central depressant activity of butanol fraction of Securinega virosa root bark in mice

Mohammed Garba Magaji, Abdullahi Hamza Yaro, Aliyu Muhammad Musa, Joseph Akponso Anuka, Ibrahim Abdu-Aguye, Isa Marte Hussaini
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2012 May 7, 141 (1): 128-33
22353430

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Securinega virosa is a commonly used medicinal plant in African traditional medicine in the management of epilepsy and mental illness. Previous studies in our laboratory showed that the crude methanol root bark extract of the plant possesses significant behavioral effect in laboratory animals. In an attempt to isolate and characterize the biological principles responsible for the observed activity, this study is aimed at evaluating the central depressant activity of the butanol fraction of the methanol root bark extract of Securinega virosa.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The medial lethal dose of the butanol fraction was estimated using the method of Lorke. Preliminary phytochemical screening was conducted on the butanol fraction using standard protocol. The behavioral effect of the butanol fraction (75, 150 and 300mg/kg) was evaluated using diazepam induced sleep test, hole-board test, beam walking assay, staircase test, open field test and elevated plus maze assay, all in mice.

RESULTS: The median lethal dose of the butanol fraction was estimated to be 1256.9mg/kg. The preliminary phytochemical screening revealed the presence of tannins, saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, similar to those found in the crude methanol extract. The butanol fraction significantly (P<0.001) reduced the mean onset of sleep in mice and doubled the mean duration of sleep in mice at the dose of 75mg/kg. The butanol fraction and diazepam (0.5mg/kg) significantly (P<0.01-0.001) reduced the number of head dips in the hole-board test suggesting sedative effect. The sedative effect of the butanol fraction was further corroborated by its significant (P<0.01-0.001) reduction of the number of step climbed and rearing in the staircase test. The butanol fraction did not significantly increase the time taken to complete the task and number of foot slips in the beam walking assay, suggesting that it does not induce significant motor coordination deficit. Diazepam (2mg/kg), the standard agent used significantly (P<0.01) increased the number of foot slips. In the open field test, the butanol fraction significantly reduced the number of square crossed as well as the number of rearing. However, the butanol fraction did not significantly alter the behavior of mice in the elevated plus maze assay, while diazepam (0.5mg/kg) significantly (P<0.05) increased the time spent in the open arm and reduced the number of closed arm entry.

CONCLUSION: The findings of this study suggest that the butanol fraction of Securinega virosa root bark contains some bioactive principles that are sedative in nature.

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