Anticonvulsant effect of Cicer arietinum seed in animal models of epilepsy: Introduction of an active molecule with novel chemical structure
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© 2015 Pasteur Institute of Iran. All rights reserved. Background: Cicer arietinum (Chickpea) is one of the most important harvests in the world with high nutritional value. Lack of essential oils in the seeds of Chickpea is an advantage in search for drug-like molecules with less toxicity. We evaluated anticonvulsant effect of C. arietinum in common animal models of epilepsy. Methods: Dichloromethane extract was obtained from C. arietinum seeds by percolation. Acute toxicity of the extract was assessed in mice. Protective effect of the extract was examined against tonic seizures induced by maximal electroshock (MES; 50 mA, 50 Hz, 1 s) in mice, clonic seizures induced by pentylenetetrazol (PTZ; 60 mg/kg, i.p.) in mice, and electrical kindling model of complex partial seizures in rats. The extract was fractionated by n-hexane to fl and f2 fractions. The extract and fractions underwent phytochemical analysis by thin layer chromatography. The active anticonvulsant fraction, fl, was subjected to matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass analysis. Results: The crude extract had neither toxicity up to 7 g/kg nor protective activity in MES and kindling models. However, it significantly inhibited clonic seizures induced by PTZ. fl fraction mimicked protective effect of the extract. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of considerable amount of alkaloids in the extract and fractions. Moreover, a novel structural class was detected in f1 fraction. Conclusion: Finding an anticonvulsant molecule pertaining to a new structural class in the seeds of C. arietinum promises an effective and inexpensive source of antiepileptic medication. Further studies are needed to identify its mechanism of action and more clues into its structure-activity relationship.