Effects of oral administration of extracts of Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) on brain serotonin transporter, serotonin uptake and behaviour in mice.J Pharm Pharmacol 2004; 56(12):1589-95JP
The pharmacological effects of extracts of Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) were characterized in-vitro and ex-vivo, in relation to its behavioural effects. In in-vitro experiments, St John's wort inhibited brain synaptosomal [(3)H]serotonin uptake in mice with little effect on specific [(3)H]paroxetine binding. For selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the IC50 value for [(3)H]serotonin uptake (molar concentration of unlabelled drug necessary to displace 50% of specific uptake) correlated well with the inhibition constant K(i) value for [(3)H]paroxetine binding in mouse brain. Oral administration of St John's wort (900 mg kg(-1)), paroxetine (1 mg kg(-1)) and sertraline (10 mg kg(-1)) brought about significant increases in the K(m) value for [(3)H]serotonin uptake into brain synaptosomes 4 h later, and only SSRIs suppressed specific [(3)H]paroxetine binding in mouse brain. St John's wort and SSRIs significantly inhibited marble-burying behaviour in mice and the time-course of attenuation of this behaviour by St John's wort was similar to that of [(3)H]serotonin uptake inhibition. In the forced swimming test, St John's wort, but not SSRIs, suppressed the immobility time of mice after oral administration. These results provide the first in-vivo evidence to suggest that the mode of antidepressant action of St John's wort differs from that of SSRIs. Thus, this study may have a significant impact on phytotherapy with St John's wort.