Biomolecules & Therapeutics  
Sedative Effect of Sophora flavescens and Matrine
Hyun-ju Lee1, Sun-young Lee1, Daehyuk Jang1, Sun-Yong Chung2,* and Insop Shim1,*
1Department of Science in Korean Medicine, Graduate School, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02435, 2Department of Oriental Neuropsychiatry, Kyung Hee University Korean Medicine Hospital at Gangdong, Seoul 05278, Republic of Korea
E-mail: ishim@khu.ac.kr (Shim IS), lovepwr@khu.ac.kr (Chung SY)
Tel: +82-2-961-0698 (Shim IS), +82-2-440-7134 (Chung SY)
Fax: +82-2-957-0151 (Shim IS), +82-2-440-7287 (Chung SY)
Received: July 17, 2016; Revised: October 19, 2016; Accepted: November 15, 2016; Published online: February 13, 2017.
© The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology. All rights reserved.

Abstract
The present study investigated the sedative effects of Sophora flavescens (SF) and its bioactive compound, matrine through performing locomotor activity test and the electroencephalography (EEG) analysis in the rat. The underlying neural mechanism of their beneficial effects was determined by assessing c-Fos immunoreactivity and serotonin (5-HT) in the brain utilizing immunohistochemical method and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. The results showed that SF and matrine administration had an effect on normalization of caffeine-induced hyperactivity and promoting a shift toward non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. c-Fos-immunoreactivity and 5-HT level in the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO), a sleep promoting region, were increased in the both SF and matrine-injected groups. In conclusion, SF and its bioactive compound, matrine alleviated caffeine-induced hyperactivity and promoted NREM sleep by activating VLPO neurons and modulating serotonergic transmission. It is suggested that SF might be a useful natural alternatives for hypnotic medicine.
Keywords: Sophora flavescens, Matrine, 5-HT, EEG, Locomotor, Sedative effect


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