Catha edulis Forsk. (Khat): Evaluation of its antidepressant-like Activity
Hassan Alfaifi1, Siddig Ibrahim Abdelwahab2, Syam Mohan3, Manal Mohamed Elhassan Taha3, Sohier M Syame4, Lamiaa A Shaala5, Rashad Alsanosy2
1 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Substance Abuse Research Centre, Jazan University, 11420, Jazan, Saudi Arabia
3 Medical Research Centre, Jazan University, 11420, Jazan, Saudi Arabia
4 Medical Research Centre, Jazan University, 11420, Jazan, Saudi Arabia; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, National Research Center, Dokki, Giza, Egypt
5 Natural Products Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Centre, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Siddig Ibrahim Abdelwahab
Substance Abuse Research Centre, Jazan University, 11420, Jazan
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Catha edulis Forsk. (Khat) is traditionally used for treating various disorders. Nevertheless there are no reports of any scientific assessment of its psychopharmacological properties. Objective: Therefore, the current study was designed to evaluate the antidepressant-like activity of Khat ethanolic extract using established animal models of depression and stress. Materials and Methods: Ninety healthy male albino mice were used in this study. Forced swim, tail suspension and head poking tests were utilized to evaluate the antidepressant-like activity of the ethanolic extract of Khat (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg, i.p.) and escitalopram (standard drug) which were administered 30 min prior to the tests. Phytochemical analysis of the standardized extract was conducted using liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy (LC-MS). Results: A significant decrease in the head-dipping behavior was noticed after administration of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg of Khat extract. Moreover, the extract significantly decreased the immobility time in tail suspension and forced swim tests. The presence of cathinone and cathine were detected in the extract using LC-MS. Conclusion: The current results suggest that the extract of Khat leaves has acute antidepressant properties and may have sedative effects.
Abbreviations used: LC-MS: Liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy; NIST: National institute of standard technology; SSRI: Serotonin reuptake inhibitors; FST: Forced swim test; TST: Tail suspension test.