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Current Drug Discovery Technologies


ISSN (Print): 1570-1638
ISSN (Online): 1875-6220

Research Article

Evaluation of the Antidepressant-like Effect of Total Sterols Fraction and Stigmasterol Isolated from Leaves of Aegle marmelos and Possible Mechanism( s) of Action Involved

Author(s): Sourav Ghosh*, Arvind Kumar, Neetu Sachan and Phool Chandra

Volume 19, Issue 2, 2022

Published on: 29 July, 2021

Article ID: e290721195144 Pages: 15

DOI: 10.2174/1570163818666210729165310

Price: $65


Background: Aegle marmelos Corr. (Rutaceae) commonly known as ‘Indian Bael’ has been used as a brain tonic traditionally. However, despite this traditional use, not enough scientific report is present that can confirm the use of this plant in neurological disorders. Thus, the total sterols fraction and stigmasterol from the leaves of Aegle marmelos were investigated for antidepressant-like effect along with their possible mechanism(s) of action by primarily performing acute toxicity study of total sterols.

Methods: An acute toxicological study was carried out at a single oral dose of 2000 mg/kg. Sign of toxicity was observed by estimating biochemical and performing histopathological analysis. For the antidepressant-like effect, different doses of total sterols (50-200 mg/kg, p.o. for seven days) and stigmasterol (5- 20 mg/kg, i.p. acute) were administered in mice using TST and FST models. To evaluate the mechanism of action, mice were pretreated with GABA, 5-HT, DA, adrenergic antagonists, and glutamate agonists. Furthermore, a neurochemical study was performed following TST and molecular docking study was also performed to determine the binding affinity of stigmasterol.

Results: Total sterols fraction presents no sign of toxicity up to the oral dose of 2000 mg/kg. Oral treatment of total sterols and acute intraperitoneal treatment of stigmasterol (except 5 mg/kg) reduced the immobility time significantly. Pretreatment with pCPA (5-HT synthesis inhibitor) and NMDA (an agonist of the glutamate site) effectively reversed the immobility time of total sterols and stigmasterol (except pCPA) in TST. However, bicuculline (competitive GABA antagonist), haloperidol (D2 dopaminergic antagonist) and prazosin (α1 adrenergic antagonist) could not reverse the immobility time. Meanwhile, total sterols also effectively altered the hippocampus 5-HT and Glu levels. Also, the result of the molecular docking study depicted that stigmasterol has an affinity to the NMDA receptor.

Conclusions: The present study suggests that the total sterols fraction did not produce any acute toxicity in rats. Also, we reported that total sterols, stigmasterol and sub-effective stigmasterol coadministration with fluoxetine significantly reduced the time of immobility in TST and FST confirmed the antidepressant-like effect of total sterols fraction and stigmasterol. Moreover, further findings suggest that the antidepressant-like effect of total sterols might be mediated by the serotonergic and glutamatergic systems. Whereas only the glutamatergic system was involved in the antidepressant activity of stigmasterol.

Keywords: Aegle marmelos, phytosterols, antidepressant-like effect, serotonergic system, glutamatergic system, stigmasterol.

Graphical Abstract
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