The aim of the study is to determine the acute toxicity and anxiolytic-like effects of a mixture of cis and trans of (+)-limonene epoxide in animal models of anxiety. After acute treatment with (+)-limonene epoxide at doses of 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg (i.p.) no mortality was noted during 14 days of observation. In general, behavior, food and water consumption showed no significant changes. In open field test, (+)-limonene epoxide at doses of 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg, after intraperitoneal administration, significantly decreased the number of crossings, grooming and rearing (p<0.001). All these effects were reversed by the pre-treatment with flumazenil (25 mg/kg, i.p.), similar to those observed with diazepam used as a positive standard. In the elevated-plus-maze test, (+)-limonene epoxide increased the time of permanence and the number of entrances in the open arms. All these effects were reversed by flumazenil, an antagonist of benzodiazepine receptors. In addition, (+)-limonene epoxide (75 mg/kg) also produced a significant inhibition of the motor coordination (p<0.01), that was reversed by flumazenil. In conclusion, the present work evidenced sedative and anxiolytic-like effects of (+)-limonene epoxide, which might involve an action on benzodiazepine-type receptors. These results indicate that the properties of (+)-limonene epoxide should be more thoroughly examined in order to achieve newer tools for management and/or treatment of central nervous system diseases and anxiolytic-like effects. The LD50 obtained for the acute toxicity studies using intraperitoneal route of administration was 4.0 g/kg. These findings suggest that acute administration of the (+)-limonene epoxide exerts an anxiolytic-like effect on mice, and it could serve as a new approach for the treatment anxiety, since it practically does not produce toxic effects.
de Almeida AA, Costa JP, de Carvalho RB, de Sousa DP, de Freitas RM. Evaluation of acute toxicity of a natural compound (+)-limonene epoxide and its anxiolytic-like action. Brain Res. 2012 April Department of Chemistry of Federal University of Piauí, CEP 64.049-550, Teresina, Piauí, Brazil.