Anxiolytic-like effects of phytol: Possible involvement of GABAergic transmission.
Phytol, a branched chain unsaturated alcohol, is particularly interesting because it is an isolated compound from essential oils of different medicinal plant. The aim of study was to evaluate the anxiolytic-like effects of phytol in animal models to clarify their possible action mechanism. After acute intraperitoneal treatment with phytol at doses of 25, 50 and 75mg/kg were utilized behavioral models of open-field, elevated-plus-maze, rota-rod, light-dark, marble-burying and pentobarbital sleeping time tests. In open field test, phytol (25, 50 and 75mg/kg) [p<0.01] increased the number of crossings and rearings. However, the number of groomings [p<0.01] was reduced. Likewise, the number of entries and the time spent in light space were increased [p<0.01] while the number of marble-burying was decreased [p<0.001], in elevated-plus-maze, light-dark and marble-burying tests, respectively. In motor activity test, phytol (75mg/kg) impaired the rota-rod performance of mice [p<0.01]. In pentobarbital sleeping time test, phytol 75mg/kg decreased for latency of sleeping and phytol (25, 50 and 75mg/kg) increased the sleep time when compared to negative control [p<0.05]. All these effects were reversed by pre-treatment with flumazenil (2.5mg/kg, i.p.), similarly to those observed with diazepam (2mg/kg, i.p.; positive control) suggesting the phytol presents mechanism of action by interaction with GABAergic system. These findings suggest that acute administration of phytol exerts an anxiolytic-like effect on mice. Furthermore, suppose that phytol interacts with GABAA receptor, probably at the receptor subtypes that mediate benzodiazepines effects, to produce sedative and anxiolytic activities.