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Amelioration of Scopolamine-Induced Amnesic, Anxiolytic and Antidepressant Effects of Ficus benghalensis in Behavioral Experimental Models

  • Malik, Humna1
  • Javaid, Sana1, 2
  • Fawad Rasool, Muhammad
  • Samad, Noreen
  • Rizwan Ahamad, Syed
  • Alqahtani, Faleh3
  • Imran, Imran1
  • 1 (S.J.)
  • 2 Department of Pharmacy, The Women University, Multan 60000, Pakistan
  • 3 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
Published Article
Publication Date
Mar 23, 2020
DOI: 10.3390/medicina56030144
PMID: 32210162
PMCID: PMC7143763
PubMed Central


Background and Objectives: Ficus benghalensis (FB) is a commonly found tree in Pakistan and its various parts have folkloric importance in managing neurological ailments. In the present study, methanolic extract of its bark has been tested on an experimental animal model to evaluate memory-enhancing, anxiolytic and antidepressant activities to validate the claimed therapeutic potential. Materials and Methods: Methanolic extract of freshly isolated bark was prepared and subjected to preliminary phytochemical studies and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis for the presence of phytocomponents. To evaluate its effect on spatial learning, passive-avoidance test–step through (PAT-ST), Y-maze and Morris water maze (MWM) tests were carried out. Open-field (OFT) and elevated plus maze (EPM) tests were employed to explore the anti-anxiety potential of FB while a forced swimming test (FST) was utilized to assess its anti-depressant prospective. FB doses of 100, 200 and 300 mg/kg with positive and negative controls given to Sprague Dawley (SD) rats. Results: phytochemical studies showed the presence of various phytoconstituents including alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenes, phenolics and anthraquinones. The presence of synephrine, aspargine, glucose, fructose and fatty acids was revealed by GC–MS analysis. FB administration led to significant improved memory retention when evaluated through passive avoidance ( p < 0.05), Y-maze ( p < 0.05) and Morris water maze ( p < 0.05) tests in a scopolamine model of amnesic rats. When tested by open field and elevated plus maze tests, FB demonstrated anxiety-resolving characteristics ( p < 0.05) as animals dared to stay in open areas more than a control group. Mobility time was increased and immobility time was reduced ( p < 0.05–0.01) in rats treated with FB, unveiling the anti-depressant importance of F. benghalensis . Conclusion: methanolic extract of F. benghalensis bark furnished scientific proof behind folkloric claims of the memory improving, anxiety-reducing and depression-resolving characteristics of the plant. These activities might be possible due to interaction of its phytoconstituents with serotonergic, glutamatergic, cholinergic and GABAergic systems in the brain.

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