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New Insights Into the Anticonvulsant Effects of Essential Oil From Melissa officinalis L. (Lemon Balm)

Chindo, Ben A. and Howes, Melanie-Jayne R. and Abuhamdah, Sawsan and Yakubu, Musa I. and Ayuba, Godwin I. and Battison, Alex and Chazot, Paul L. (2021) 'New Insights Into the Anticonvulsant Effects of Essential Oil From Melissa officinalis L. (Lemon Balm).', Frontiers in Pharmacology, 12 .


Melissa officinalis L. is used in traditional European and Iranian folk medicines to treat a plethora of neurological diseases including epilepsy. We utilized the in vitro and in vivo models of epilepsy to probe the anticonvulsant potentials of essential oil from M. officinalis (MO) to gain insight into the scientific basis for its applications in traditional medicine for the management of convulsive disorders. MO was evaluated for effects on maximal electroshock (MES) and pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) -induced seizures in mice, on 4–aminopyridine (4-AP)-brain slice model of epilepsy and sustained repetitive firing of current clamped neurons; and its ameliorative effects were examined on seizure severity, anxiety, depression, cognitive dysfunction, oxidative stress and neuronal cell loss in PTZ-kindled rats. MO reversibly blocked spontaneous ictal-like discharges in the 4-AP-brain slice model of epilepsy and secondary spikes from sustained repetitive firing, suggesting anticonvulsant effects and voltage-gated sodium channel blockade. MO protected mice from PTZ– and MES–induced seizures and mortality, and ameliorated seizure severity, fear-avoidance, depressive-like behavior, cognitive deficits, oxidative stress and neuronal cell loss in PTZ–kindled rats. The findings warrant further study for the potential use of MO and/or its constituent(s) as adjunctive therapy for epileptic patients.

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Publisher statement:This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date accepted:27 September 2021
Date deposited:25 January 2022
Date of first online publication:14 October 2021
Date first made open access:25 January 2022

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