Background: Sunset yellow is a commonly used synthetic food additive in various food beverages. Over usage of this colorant induces the anxiogenic behaviour in mice through oxidative stress. Vernonia cinerea reverses anxiogenic behaviour by counteracting oxidative stress.
Objective: The study was designed to screen the protective effect of Vernonia cinerea extract against sunset yellow induced anxiogenic behaviour in mice through counteracting oxidative damage.
Methods: The anxiogenic behaviour was induced by the administration of sunset yellow (20 mg/kg, p.o) for 30 days. Ethanol extract of aerial parts of Vernonia cinerea (EEVC) (400 mg/kg, p.o) was administered after 1 hour of sunset yellow treatment. Diazepam (1 mg/kg, p.o) was used as a reference drug for comparisons.
Results: FT-IR studies of the extract were done by comparing with standards to determine the presence of phenols and flavonoids. Vernonia cinerea significantly improved the altered anxiogenic behaviour of sunset yellow treated animals. Significant increase in the brain antioxidant enzymes catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and neurotransmitter Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) level and decrease in the lipid peroxidation and glutamate neurotransmitter were observed in Vernonia cinerea treated group and also this extract reversed the hippocampus CA3 region abnormalities such as perivascular oedema, haemorrhage and severe vocalisation in sunset yellow group.
Conclusion: Vernonia cinerea possesses significant antioxidant, antiradical and GABA enhancing effects against sunset yellow induced anxiogenic behavior in mice.