Research Articles

2018  |  Vol: 3(4)  |  Issue: 4 (July- August) |
Evaluation of antidepressant activity of aqueous extract of Prosopis cineraria leaves by using tail suspension test in Swiss albino mice

Parigala Madhavi, B. L. Kudagi*,  Madhavulu Buchineni, Rama Mohan Pathapati

Post graduate,  Head  of  the  department,  Professors

Department of  Pharmacology, Narayana Medical College, Nellore, Andhrapradesh, India.

*Address for Corresponding author

Dr. B. L. Kudagi, 

HOD, Department of Pharmacology, 

Narayana Medical College, Nellore, Andhrapradesh, India, 524003 


Objectives: To evaluate antidepressant activity of aqueous extract of Prosopis cineraria leaves by using Tail suspension test in Swiss albino mice. Materials and Methods: 24 Swiss albino mice of  6-8wks old  weighing  in  the  range of  20 to 25gms  were selected for  the study  and administered  the drugs, viz  Control- normal saline( 2ml/kg) oral , Standard- amitriptyline (10mg/kg) oral, and  Test  drug Prosopis cineraria (100 & 200mg/kg) oral . All  the  drugs  were administered , screened  for antidepressant activity at  0, 20, 60, 90 min by suspending  them  from a rod 50cm above  the ground level and  duration of  immobility time was recorded  over a period of  six minutes (discarding initial two minutes to avoid bias). Results: Prosopis cineraria  at 100 & 200 mg/kg  has shown significant antidepressant activity with decrease in duration of  immobility with 97.00  ± 2.30 & 94 ± 3.23 sec at 90min with a p value of <0.0001 respectively. Conclusion: In our study, we identified the potent and efficacious antidepressant activity of   aqueous extract of leaves of Prosopis cineraria.

Keywords:  Antidepressant, Prosopis cineraria, Tail suspension test

Depression is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease and affects people in all communities across the world (Ohayon, 2007). This burden is more severe in some areas where diagnosis and medications for treatment are inadequate and relatively expensive. In contrast, mostly current treatment regimen available has proven less efficacious at ameliorating the condition. This has made the search for molecules with superior pharmacological profile and possibly effective at multiple related targets.

Plants have served as a rich source of new molecules with pharmacological properties that fill an essential gap in the search for superior therapeutic agents. Local remedies, over the years, have served as a relatively cheap source of therapy and have been employed in the management of disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia. The therapeutic claims of preparations from local herbs have over the years provided valuable clues for the direction of pharmacological investigations (Adongo and Kukuia, 2015; Adongo and Mante, 2017).

Prosopis cineraria is a leguminous multipurpose tree. It is a very useful tree and famous especially in desert area due to its spreadability and importance. It has important pharmacological activities like antibacterial, antihyperglycemic, antihyperlipidemic, antidepressant, skeletal muscle relaxant, bronchodilator, vasodilatory, detoxifying, anticancer analgesic, anticonvulsant, anticancer activity (Biney et al., 2016).

Despite the plants popular use, there is sparse scientific evidence supporting its purported CNS activity. Hence, it  is  important  to investigate  the potential  of  Prosopis cineraria  aqueous leaf extract  in depression  in order to provide some scientific evidence for the plants  use. The current work assessed the antidepressant potential of Prosopis cineraria aqueous leaf extract  in the tail suspension test in mice.

Latest neurobiology suggests  that stress in social  life and  release of stress hormones like, norepinephrine, serotonin, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) etc. plays a significant role in  the pathogenesis of depression (Pareek et al., 2015). Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Monoamine oxidase inhibitors  and  atypical antidepressant drugs are some of   the  different  class of  drugs used  in  depression even though  it carries drawbacks  like delay  in  onset of action  and  having  its own adverse effects involving almost all  the system of   the  body (Adongo and Kukuia, 2015). It was observed that, depressed patients will have increased tendency of suicidal thoughts and carry increased risk of stroke and heart attack (Marta and Benjamin, 2017).

Nevertheless, current antidepressants are still the option for treating depression despite of  few drawbacks, but still there is search  to find  new drugs as an add on therapy to increase efficacy and decrease adverse effects of  current  antidepressant drugs.

Materials and Methods

As per protocol, permission was obtained to conduct this research from the institutional animal ethics committee of Narayana Medical College Animal Ethics Committee (IAEC). All the selected animals (Swiss albino mice) were housed for 10 days to acclimatize for the experimental lab before the study.

Preparation of Prosopis cineraria aqueous extract

The fresh leaves of Prosopis cineraria were collected from Nellore district and identified, authenticated by a Botanist. The leaves were thoroughly washed with tap water, dried in shade and grounded to make powder. 100mg of  powder  was  filled in thimble  and  extracted  using 500ml distilled  water  in  soxhlet  apparatus  for  2hrs  and  concentrated  to  dryness  at  40-45°C  in  hot  air  oven  till  solid  to semisolid  mass  was  obtained (George and Sharma, 2011). Care was taken to avoid charring. Then the extract was cooled at room temperature, weighed to calculate extractability percentage and finally stored in desiccators in a cool and dry place.

Antidepressant activity

The 24 Swiss albino mice of  6-8wks old weighing in the range of 20 to 25gms were grouped for  the study and administered the drugs, viz Control - Normal saline (2ml/kg)oral, Standard-  Amitriptyline (10mg/kg) oral, and Test drug - Prosopis cineraria (100 & 200mg/kg) oral,  screened  for  antidepressant activity  at  0, 20, 60, 90min  by suspending  them from a  rod 50cm  above  the ground  and  duration of  immobility  was  recorded  over  a six  minutes ( discarding  initial two minutes observation to avoid bias) . All the animals were handled as per CPCSEA guidelines, New Delhi, India.

Results and discussion 

Both Prosopis cineraria and Amitriptyline decreased the duration of immobility very significantly (p<0.0001)   when compared with control. 

The present study demonstrates that the aqueous extract of leaves of Prosopis cineraria shows significant antidepressant activity. Anxiety and depression are intimately linked and usually appear as comorbid states and treatment of both states positively affects the outcome of therapy (Outhoff, 2010). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are usually considered as first-line treatment for patients with depression. Several classes of drugs that modify serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmission have previously been explored for their possible role in depression and schizophrenia (Pollack, 2005; Levy and Van de Kar, 1992).

Table 1. Effect of Prosopis cineraria on duration of immobility (sec) in mice by using Tail suspension test

































@ 60min









@ 90min









P value


 P < 0.0001

P < 0.0001

P < 0.0001

Mean±SD, One way ANOVA test,*p<0.05-Significant, ***p<0.0001- very significant

Figure 1. Effect of Prosopis cineraria on duration of immobility (sec) in mice by using Tail suspension test. C =  Control- Normal saline (2ml/kg), S =  Standard – Amitriptyline (10mg/kg), T1 =  PC (100mg/kg),  T2 =  PC (200mg/kg)


Based on the above premise, the potential antidepressant effect of aqueous extract of leaves of Prosopis cineraria was assessed by one acute depression model in mice: Tail suspension test. This model works on the principle that when mice were subjected to unavoidable, inescapable stress, they assume escape oriented behaviors with intermittent moments of despair usually in the form of immobility (Steru et al., 1985). Period of immobility is known to model some aspects of depressive symptoms and hence most antidepressants were known to decrease the duration of immobility. Consequently, this test has been employed in the screening of potential antidepressant drugs.

In the TST, significant decrease in immobility duration was achieved after aqueous extract of   leaves of Prosopis cineraria (100 & 200 mg/kg), Amitriptyline (10 mg/kg) treatment suggesting antidepressant activity. Antidepressants that inhibit serotonin and/or NA reuptake decrease immobility and increase swinging behavior of mice in the Tail suspension test.


Results from this study indicate that the aqueous extract of leaves of Prosopis cineraria possess antidepressant effects which might be due to interaction with noradrenergic and serotonergic systems.

Conflicts of interest: Not declared.


Adongo DW, Kukuia KKE. 2015. Antidepressant-like effect of the leaves of Pseudospondias microcarpa in mice: evidence for the involvement of the serotoninergic system, NMDA receptor complex, and nitric oxide pathway. BioMed Research International (15):212-16.

Adongo DW, Mante PK. et al. 2017. Anticonvulsant activity of Pseudospondias microcarpa (A. Rich) Engl. hydroethanolic leaf extract in mice: The role of excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmission and nitric oxide pathway. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, (206):78–91.

Biney RP, Benneh CK, Ameyaw EO, Boakye-Gyasi E, Woode E. 2016. Xylopia aethiopica fruit extract exhibits antidepressant-like effect via interaction with serotonergic neurotransmission in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, (184):49–57.

George M, Joseph L, Sharma A. 2011. Antidepressant and skeletal muscle relaxant effects of the aqueous extract of the Prosopis cineraria. Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, (48):577-81.

Hasler G. 2010. Pathophysiology of depression: do we have any solid evidence of interest to clinicians? World Psychiatry, 9(3):155–161.

Levy AD. Van de Kar LD. 1992.  Endocrine and receptor pharmacology of serotonergic anxiolytics, antipsychotics and antidepressants. Life Sciences, 51(2):83–94.

Marta MM, Benjamin MB. 2017. The Mortality and Myocardial Effects of Antidepressants are moderated by Preexisting Cardiovascular Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 86(5):268-282.

Outhoff K. 2010. The pharmacology of anxiolytics. South African Family Practice, 52(2):99–105.

Pareek AK, Garg S, Kumar M, Yadav SM. 2015. Prosopis Cineraria: A gift of Nature for pharmacy. International Journal of Pharma Sciences and Research, (6):958-59.

Pollack MH. 2005. Comorbid anxiety and depression.  Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66(8):22–29.

Steru L, Chermat R, Thierry B, Simon P. 1985. The tail suspension test: a new method for screening antidepressants in mice. Psychopharmacology, 85(3):367–70.

Manuscript Management System
Submit Article Subscribe Most Popular Articles Join as Reviewer Email Alerts Open Access