Relevant and predictive CNS tests for nutraceuticals

Newsletter # 88



Animal models


Nutraceuticals (aka bioceuticals) is used to describe a food, or parts of a food, that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases. Many of these products are of plant origin and have a long historical and traditional use in many cultures. Nowadays, they have received considerable interest due to their potential safety and therapeutic effects.
Kava extract from Piper methysticum has been used in traditional medicine of pacific island countries to treat a range of health conditions, including anxiety.

Furthermore, several clinical trials have suggested the superiority of Kava over placebo in reducing symptoms of people suffering anxiety (1) . In mouse anxiety paradigms such as the elevated plus maze (EPM) and light dark box (LD box) conducted by NEUROFIT, Kava extract reduces the anxiety-like behaviors of mice in a dose-dependent manner.
(1) DOI: 10.1097/00004714-200002000-00014


  • These CNS tests appear therefore relevant and predictive for evaluating neutraceutical concepts before advancing to clinical studies.


  • Combination therapy

  • Combination therapy



  • EPM and LD box are commonly used tests to evaluate the anxiety status of mice in one single trial. These tests are based on an approach/avoidance conflict between the drive to explore novel areas and an aversion to brightly lit, open spaces. Hence, increase in the time spent in these anxiogenic areas during the trial is an indication of potential anxiolytic effect of test compounds. Herein, a single 1h treatment of mice with Kava induces a dose-dependent increase in the time spent in the open arms and in the lit box suggesting a reduced anxiety status of mice.

NEUROFIT offers a range of validated in vitro and in vivo screening tests for psychiatry and neurology.

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