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An Extract of Neem Leaves Reduces Anxiety without Causing Motor Side Effects in an Experimental Model



Anxiety modulation often requires pharmaceutical intervention, and though effective in the short term, benzodiazepines may cause impaired motor function. As a potential alternative, anxiety-modulating effects of a neem leaf (Azadirachta indica, A Juss) extract were investigated using ethological analysis of rat behaviour on an elevated X maze and compared with diazepam treatment. Sexually immature female Sprague-Dawley rats received 0.07 or 7 mg/kg neem leaf steroidal extract, a sham injection, a 1% DMSO/saline vehicle, 2 mg/kg diazepam or no treatment one hour prior to a recorded five-minute exploration of the elevated X maze. Neem matched diazepam in anxiety reduction as both treatments caused a decrease in per cent protected stretched-attend postures (PPSAP). Neem treatment had no effect on closed arm entries or total rears, distinguishing it pharmacologically from diazepam which resulted in a predictable decrease in those locomotor measures. Whereas both neem and diazepam reduced anxiety in complex ethological behavioural indices, only neem produced anxiolysis without motor deficiency.

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e-Published: 07 Oct, 2013
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