Planta Med 2007; 73(13): 1358-1364
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-990234
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Protective Effect of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) Extract on 72-Hour Sleep Deprivation-Induced Anxiety-Like Behavior and Oxidative Damage in Mice

Anil Kumar1 , Anant Singh1
  • 1Pharmacology division, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
Further Information

Publication History

Received: May 18, 2007 Revised: August 27, 2007

Accepted: September 3, 2007

Publication Date:
04 October 2007 (online)


Sleep disruption or poor quality of sleep is a common problem associated with depression. Antidepressant drugs have been reported to improve the quality of sleep and behavior. The present study was undertaken to explore the therapeutic potential of Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort) on behavioral alterations and oxidative damage induced by sleep deprivation in mice. Male laca mice (n = 6 - 10 in each group) were sleep deprived for 72 hours using the grid suspended over water method. Standardized Hypericum perforatum extract and imipramine were administered for five days, starting two days before sleep deprivation. Alterations in body weight, motor activity, anxiety like behavior (mirror chamber, plus maze, zero maze) and oxidative stress parameters (reduced glutathione, catalase, lipid peroxidation and nitrite levels) were observed after drug treatment in sleep-deprived animals. 72-hour sleep deprivation significantly altered body weight, locomotor activity and produced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage (depleted reduced glutathione, catalase activity and increased lipid peroxidation and nitrite activity) as compared to the naïve (placed on sawdust) animals (P < 0.05). Treatment with either St. John’s wort (200 and 400 mg/kg, p. o.) or with imipramine (10 mg/kg, i. p.) significantly improved body weight, locomotor activity, antianxiety and antioxidant effect as compared to the control group (sleep deprived) (P < 0.05). Co-administration of John’s wort (200 mg/kg, p. o.) with imipramine (10 mg/kg, i. p.) further improved body weight, locomotor activity, antianxiety effect as well as reduced oxidative damage in sleep-deprived animal as compared to their effect per se (P < 0.05). The present study suggests that there is therapeutic potential of St. John’s wort in the management of sleep deprivation-induced anxiety-like behavior and oxidative damage.


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Dr. Anil Kumar

Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Panjab University



Phone: +91-172-253-4106

Fax: +91-172-254-1142