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Valeriana officinalis does not alter the orofacial dyskinesia induced by haloperidol in rats: Role of dopamine transporter

Chronic treatment with classical neuroleptics in humans can produce a serious side effect, known as tardive dyskinesia (TD). Here, we examined the effects of V. officinalis, a medicinal herb widely used as calming and sleep-promoting, in an animal model of orofacial dyskinesia (OD) induced by long-term treatment with haloperidol. Adult male rats were treated during 12 weeks with haloperidol decanoate (38 mg/kg, i.m., each 28 days) and with V. officinalis (in the drinking water). Vacuous chewing movements (VCMs), locomotor activity and plus maze performance were evaluated. Haloperidol treatment produced VCM in 40% of the treated rats and the concomitant treatment with V. officinalis did not alter either prevalence or intensity of VCMs. The treatment with V. officinalis increased the percentage of the time spent on open arm and the number of entries into open arm in the plus maze test. Furthermore, the treatment with haloperidol and/or V. officinalis decreased the locomotor activity in the open field test. We did not find any difference among the groups when oxidative stress parameters were evaluated. Haloperidol treatment significantly decreased [3 H]-dopamine uptake in striatal slices and V. officinalis was not able to prevent this effect. Taken together, our data suggest a mechanism involving the reduction of dopamine transport in the maintenance of chronic VCMs in rats. Furthermore, chronic treatment with V. officinalis seems not produce any oxidative damage to central nervous system (CNS), but it also seems to be devoid of action to prevent VCM, at least in the dose used in this study.