Nelumbo nucifera promotes non-rapid eye movement sleep by regulating GABAergic receptors in rat model

Kyungae Jo, Singeun Kim, Ki Bae Hong, Hyung Joo Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Nelumbo nucifera are used in folk medicine for anti-depressant, anti-convulsant, neuroprotective, and many other purposes. Aim of the study: The present work evaluated the sleep potentiating effects of water extract from lotus seed in rat, and the neuropharmacological mechanisms underlying these effects. Materials and methods: Pentobarbital-induced sleep test and electroencephalogram (EEG) analysis were applied to investigate sleep latency, duration, total sleeping time and sleep quality of Lotus extract. In addition, real-time PCR and HPLC analysis were applied to analyze the signaling pathway. Results: We found that the amounts of the possible active compounds GABA (2.33 mg/g) and L-tryptophan (2.00 mg/g) were higher than quinidine (0.55 mg/g) and neferine (0.16 mg/g) in lotus seed extract. High dose (160 mg/kg) administration of lotus extract led to a tendency towards decreased sleep latency time and an increase in sleep duration time compared to the control group in a pentobarbital-induced sleep model (p < 0.05). After high dose administration, total sleep and NREM were significantly increased compared to control, while wake time and REM were significantly decreased. Lotus extract-treated rats showed significantly reduced wake time and increased sleep time in a caffeine-induced model of arousal. The transcription level of GABAA receptor, GABAB receptor, and serotonin receptor tended to increase with dose, and lotus extract showed a strong dose-dependent binding capacity to the GABAA receptor. Conclusion: The above results strongly suggest that GABA contained in lotus seed extract acts as a sleep potentiating compound, and that sleep-potentiating activity involves GABAA receptor binding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113511
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 1


  • GABA
  • GABA receptor
  • Nelumbo nucifera
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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