Hyperforin as a possible antidepressant component of hypericum extracts.

Article Details


Chatterjee SS, Bhattacharya SK, Wonnemann M, Singer A, Muller WE

Hyperforin as a possible antidepressant component of hypericum extracts.

Life Sci. 1998;63(6):499-510.

PubMed ID
9718074 [ View in PubMed

We demonstrate that the phloroglucinol derivative hyperforin is not only the major lipophilic chemical constituent of the medicinal plant Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) but also a potent uptake inhibitor of serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA), GABA and L-Glutamate with IC50 values of about 0.05-0.10 microg/ml (5-HT, NA, DA, GABA) and about 0.5 microg/ml (L-glutamate) in synaptosomal preparations. Furthermore, potencies of two different hypericum extracts in two conventional pharmacological paradigms useful for the detection of antidepressants (behavioral despair, learned helplessness), closely correlate with their hyperforin contents. In addition, most till now known neuropharmacological properties of the clinically used hypericum extracts can also be demonstrated with pure hyperforin. It appears, therefore, that this non-nitrogenous constituent is a possible major active principle responsible for the observed clinical efficacies of the extract as an antidepressant and that it could also be a starting point for drug discovery projects engaged in the search of psychoactive drugs with novel mode of action.

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