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A bioassay system for pharmacological standardization of Withania somnifera derived herbal remedies

  • Dey, Amitabha (Neuropharmacology Research Laboratory, Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University)) ;
  • Chatterjee, Shyam Sunder (Stettiner Strasse 1) ;
  • Kumar, Vikas (Neuropharmacology Research Laboratory, Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University))
  • Received : 2018.12.04
  • Accepted : 2019.02.21
  • Published : 2019.02.28

Abstract

Background: Contents of bioactive substances extractable from different parts of terrestrial plants vary enormously. Aim: To ascertain that parts of Withania somnifera other than its roots can also be used for prevention and cure of unavoidable stress triggered central hypersensitivity to pain. Material and Methods: Groups of male or female mice treated either with Withania somnifera extracts or with metformin, aspirin, imipramine, diazepam and niacin for 11 consecutive days were subjected to "foot-shock stress-induced hyperthermia" and "hot plate" tests on the 1st, 5th, 7th, and 10th days of the experiments. On the 11th day, they were subjected to tail suspension test and on 12th day pentobarbital hypnosis test. Results: Except for diazepam and imipramine, protective effects of all other tested drugs as well as of the Withania somnifera extracts against stress-induced central hypersensitivity to pain were accompanied by their preventive effects against foot-shock stress-induced body weight losses. All observed stress response suppressing effects of all test agents increased with increasing numbers of treatment days. However, mean duration of pentobarbital-induced sleep was shorter in the extracts treated groups and longer in the diazepam treated ones only. Conclusions: Reported observations reveal that pharmacological activity profile of Withania somnifera extracts in male and female mice are almost identical, and are not like those of several drugs currently often prescribed for the treatment of diabetes-associated comorbidities. Withanolides are not the only extractable bioactive constituents of Withania somnifera. The described bioassay system is well suited for pharmacological standardization of diverse types of Withania somnifera extracts.

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Fig.1 HPLC fingerprints of A) WSR (total content of Withanolides =2.7%), B) WSA (Total content of Withanolides = 1.5%), and C) WSS(total contents of Withanolides = 3.0%).

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Fig.2 Summary of the experimental procedures and tests used.

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Fig.3 Effect of occasional foot shock stress (duration 50 seconds) on mean body weight of male (A and B) and female mice (C and D) treated eitherwith the extracts of roots (WSR), stems (WSS) or areal parts (WSA) of Withania somnifera, or with diazepam (DZP) imipramine (IMIP), metformin(MET), nicotinic acid (NA), or aspirin (ASA) during the course of the experiments.

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Fig.4 Effect of occasional foot shock stress (duration 50 seconds) on mean basal core temperatures of male (A and B) and female mice (C and D) treated either with the extracts of roots (WSR), stems (WSS) or areal parts (WSA) of Withania somnifera, or with diazepam (DZP) imipramine (IMIP), metformin (MET), nicotinic acid (NA), or aspirin (ASA) during the course of the experiments.

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Fig. 5 Effect of occasional foot shock stress (duration 50 seconds) on stress induced hyperthermia of male (A and B) and female mice (C and D) treated either with the extracts of roots (WSR), stems (WSS) or areal parts (WSA) of Withania somnifera, or with diazepam (DZP) imipramine (IMIP), metformin (MET), nicotinic acid (NA), or aspirin (ASA) during the course of the experiments.

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Fig. 6 Effect of occasional foot shock stress (duration 50 seconds) on hot plate reaction time of male (A and B) and female mice (C and D) treated either with the extracts of roots (WSR), stems (WSS) or areal parts (WSA) of Withania somnifera, or with diazepam (DZP) imipramine (IMIP), metformin (MET), nicotinic acid (NA), or aspirin (ASA) during the course of the experiments.

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Fig. 7 Effect of occasional foot shock stress (duration 50 seconds) on tail suspension test of male (A and B) and female mice (C and D) treated either with the extracts of roots (WSR), stems (WSS) or areal parts (WSA) of Withania somnifera, or with diazepam (DZP) imipramine (IMIP), metformin (MET), nicotinic acid (NA), or aspirin (ASA) during the course of the experiments.

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Fig.8 Effect of occasional foot shock stress (duration 50 seconds) on pentobarbital induced sleep test of male (A and B) and female mice (C and D) treated either with the extracts of roots (WSR), stems (WSS) or areal parts (WSA) of Withania somnifera, or with diazepam (DZP) imipramine (IMIP), metformin (MET), nicotinic acid (NA), or aspirin (ASA) during the course of the experiments.

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