The effects of swimming exercise and Nepeta menthoides on depression and anxiety induced by reserpine

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

2 Neurophysiology Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran


Background and Objective: Physical activity has long been associated with mental health. Nepeta menthoides is a native Iranian herb recently acknowledged for its anti-depressant properties. This study attempted to determine and compare the effects of swimming exercise and Nepeta menthoides on reserpine-induced depression in rats.
Materials and Methods: Male rats (n=80) were assigned to 8 groups: 1-Saline, 2-Reserpine (0.2 mg/kg, i.p. for 14 days) 3-Swimmig Exercise( 30 min swimming sessions daily for 2 weeks ) 4-Nepeta (200 mg/kg), 5-Reserpine+Nepeta, 6-Reserpine+Swimming exercise, 7-Reserpine+Nepeta+Swimming exercise, 8-Reserpine+Fluoxetine, Finally, the behavioral tests including sucrose preference, elevated plus maze and open field were performed.
Results: Obtained data showed that depressed rats which were treated with Nepeta, exercise or both of them expressed higher preference for sucrose relative to reserpine group and their locomotor activity was also significantly improved. However, combined Nepeta+Exercise could not significantly antagonize the effect of reserpine on time spent in the open arms of elevated plus maze, but Nepeta in particular displayed marked anti-anxiety effect.
Conclusion: Combined treatment with Nepeta+exercise as the same as only Nepeta or exercise was able to alleviate anhedonia and low activity in depressed rats. Nevertheless, Nepeta alone could significantly improve reserpine-induced anxiety.


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