Anxiolytic effect of saponins from Panax quinquefolium in mice

The anxiolytic effect of the saponins from Aniliaeea Panax quinquefolium L. (PQS) was studied in male mice by using a number of experimental paradigms of anxiety and compared with that of the known anxiolytic compound diazepam. Use of the elevated plus-maze test revealed that PQS(50 mg/kg, p.o.) and diazepam (2.5 mg/kg, p.o.) increased the percentage of time and entries spent in open arms. In the light/dark test, PQS (50 and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) and diazepam (2.5 mg/kg, p.o.) prolonged the time spent in the light area. In the hole-board test, PQS (50 and 100 mg/kg,p.o.) and diazepam (2.5 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly increased both head-dip counts and head-dip duration. Both PQS (50 and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) and diazepam (2.5 mg/kg, p.o.) decreased the total fighting time in the isolation-induced aggressive test. Since PQS, in contrast to diazepam, had no effect on locomotion in these tests, its side-effect profile might be considered superior to the benzodiazepines. Thus, the present findings suggest that PQS might be a potential candidate for use as an anxiolytic drug.