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Psychopharmacological properties of an aqueous extract of Tetracarpidium conophorum Hutch. & Dalziel in mice

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The extract of the nut of Tetracarpidium conophorum (TC), commonly known as African walnut, is widely used to relieve pain, increase sperm count, enhance sexual performance in males and as a nerve tonic in ethnomedicine. This study describes the psychopharmacological properties of the aqueous extract of the nut of TC in mice. The spectrum of activities studied were the effects of TC on the duration of immobility in the forced swim test of the behavioural despair model of depression; prolongation of the duration of sleep produced by thiopentone; amphetamine-induced stereotyped behaviour; and on pain episodes produced by acetic acid and by formalin. Orally administered TC (50–200 mg/kg) produced a significant and dose-related decrease in the duration of immobility in the forced swim test in mice. TC also exhibited analgesic property, as shown by its ability to reduce the frequency of abdominal constrictions induced by acetic acid and to inhibit the nociceptive responses produced by formalin. However, at the tested oral doses of 50–200 mg/kg, TC did not prolong the duration of sleep produced by thiopentone nor alter the pattern of the stereotyped behaviour induced by amphetamine. This investigation provides evidence that may support the ethnomedicinal applications of the extract of the nut of TC in the treatment of pain. The study also revealed that TC seems to demonstrate antidepressant-like activity, as evidenced by its ability to shorten the period of immobility in the forced swim test; however, further studies are necessary to clearly define the role of TC in depression.

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We thank Mrs. B. Arinola of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, for her technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Solomon Umukoro.

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Aladeokin, A.C., Umukoro, S. Psychopharmacological properties of an aqueous extract of Tetracarpidium conophorum Hutch. & Dalziel in mice. J Nat Med 65, 411–416 (2011).

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