Behavioral and anticonvulsant effects of the standardized extract of Ficus platyphylla stem bark

Ben A Chindo, Jamilu Ya'U, Nuhu M Danjuma, Samuel E Okhale, Karniyus S Gamaniel, Axel Becker
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2014 June 11, 154 (2): 351-60

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Decoctions of Ficus platyphylla Del.-Holl (Family: Moraceae) are used in Nigeria׳s folk medicine for the management of epilepsy and their efficacies are widely acclaimed among the rural communities of northern Nigeria. The aim of the study is to examine the behavioral and anticonvulsant properties of the standardized methanol extract of Ficus platyphylla (FP) stem bark, in order to scientifically describe its potential values in the management of convulsive disorders.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and preliminary phytochemical analysis of the methanol extract were utilized and the intraperitoneal median lethal dose (LD50) determined in mice. The effects of FP were investigated on some murine models of behavior and its anticonvulsant effects studied on pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-, strychnine (STN)-, picrotoxin (PCT)-, isoniazid (INH)-, aminophylline (AMI)- and maximal electroshock (MES)-induced seizures in mice.

RESULTS: The intraperitoneal oral LD50 of FP was estimated to be 5000mg/kg. FP significantly reduced the locomotor activities including the total distance covered, speed, active time and rearing counts. It shortened the onset and prolonged the duration of diazepam-induced sleep, but had no effect on motor coordination on the rota-rod treadmill or beam-walking assay in mice at the doses tested. The extract protected the mice against PTZ- and STN-induced seizures and significantly delayed the latencies of myoclonic jerks and tonic seizures induced by all the standard convulsant agents (PTZ, PCT, INH, STN and AMI) used in this study, but failed to protect the mice against MES seizures at the doses tested. The HPLC fingerprint of the extract shows a spectrum profile characteristic of Ficus platyphylla, while the preliminary phytochemical screening revealed the presence of saponins, flavonoids and tannins.

CONCLUSION: Our study provides scientific evidence that FP may contain psychoactive principles with potential anticonvulsant properties, thus supporting further development of the psychoactive components of this plant as anticonvulsant agents.

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