Treatment of sleep disorders promotes the long-term use of commercially available sleep inducers that have several adverse effects, including addiction, systemic fatigue, weakness, loss of concentration, headache, and digestive problems. Therefore, we aimed to limit these adverse effects by investigating a natural product, the extract of the Hibiscus syriacus Linnaeus flower (HSF), as an alternative treatment. In the electric footshock model, we measured anxiety and assessed the degree of sleep improvement after administering HSF extract. In the restraint model, we studied the sleep rate using PiezoSleep, a noninvasive assessment system. In the pentobarbital model, we measured sleep improvement and changes in sleep-related factors. Our first model confirmed the desirable effects of HSF extract and its active constituent, saponarin, on anxiolysis and Wake times. HSF extract also increased REM sleep time. Furthermore, HSF extract and saponarin increased the expression of cortical GABAA receptor α1 (GABAAR α1) and c-Fos in the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO). In the second model, HSF extract and saponarin restored the sleep rate and the sleep bout duration. In the third model, HSF extract and saponarin increased sleep maintenance time. Moreover, HSF extract and saponarin increased cortical cholecystokinin (CCK) mRNA levels and the expression of VLPO c-Fos. HSF extract also increased GABAAR α1 mRNA level. Our results suggest that HSF extract and saponarin are effective in maintaining sleep and may be used as a novel treatment for sleep disorder. Eventually, we hope to introduce HSF and saponarin as a clinical treatment for sleep disorders in humans.
- GABAAR α1
- Hibiscus syriacus Linnaeus