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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 457-464

Anxiolytic effects of silibinin and naringenin on zebrafish model: A preclinical study

Department of Pharmacology, Sri Ramachandra Faculty of Pharmacy, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (DU), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Srikanth Jeyabalan
Department of Pharmacology, Sri Ramachandra Faculty of Pharmacy, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher and Research, Porur, Chennai - 600 116, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijp.IJP_18_20

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OBJECTIVE: Stress exacerbates the pathophysiology of major neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, the zebrafish (Danio rerio), the frequently used model for experimental studies of stress and other central nervous system disorders, was used to evaluate the anxiolytic potential of flavonoids, namely silibinin and naringenin on alleviating acute stress-induced anxiety. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A molecular docking study with Molegro Virtual Docker software was done to assess the binding potential of flavonoids on serotonin and dopamine receptors. To determine the bioactivity and investigate the toxicity of the flavonoids, silibinin, and naringenin, brine shrimp lethality assay, and an acute toxicity study was conducted according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Test Guideline 203. The effect of silibinin and naringenin was assessed using behavioral tasks such as the novel tank assay and the light-dark test on the zebrafish model of acute stress. RESULTS: Molecular docking studies showed a higher affinity of silibinin and naringenin for the serotonin and dopamine receptors. In comparison to the LC50 value, 13.15 μg/ml of the reference standard potassium dichromate, silibinin, and naringenin yielded higher LC50 values, 34.10 μg/ml and 91.33 μg/ml, respectively. The LC50 value of silibinin and naringenin was observed to be >100 mg/l from the acute toxicity study on adult zebrafish. After transferring to a novel tank, silibinin and naringenin-treated zebrafish groups were found to explore the upper level of the tank, similar to standard drugs, and spent a long time in the upper level of the tank compared to the control group (p < 0.01). Both silibinin and naringenin treatment group spent increased amounts of time in the tank's illuminated part in contrast to that of the dark side as evidenced by the number of zebrafish entering or remaining in the illuminated part of the tank through the light-dark test. Silibinin and naringenin treated groups were found to spend increased time in the light side significantly on the day 15th of evaluation as compared to the control group (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively). CONCLUSION: The flavonoids, silibinin, and naringenin were found to mitigate acute stress-induced anxiety, owing to their anxiolytic properties in the zebrafish model and may be explored as the potential therapeutic agents for treating anxiety.


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