Vanillin is a flavoring agent widely used in food and beverages such as chocolates and dairy products and it is also used to mask unpleasant tastes in medicine. It has been reported to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic properties. The current study was designed to investigate the protective effects of vanillin against experimentally induced stress in rats. Briefly rats were subdivided into four groups. Three groups were subjected to chronic mild stress and the fourth group served as normal control group. One week before induction of stress drugs or saline was administered daily and continued for another nine weeks. At the end of the experimental period behavioral tests including sucrose preference test, forced swim test and elevated plus maze test were assessed. In addition, brain biochemical parameters including MDA, GSH, NO and serotonin were determined. Vanillin succeeded to restore the behavioral and biochemical changes associated with stress. It significantly increased sucrose consumption in sucrose preference test and time spent in open arm in elevated plus maze test as compared to stress control group. It also reduced immobility time in forced swim test and time spent in closed arm in elevated plus maze test. Additionally, it significantly decreased brain MDA and NO levels and significantly increased brain GSH and Serotonin levels compared to stress control group. It could be concluded that vanillin showed beneficial protective effects against experimentally induced stress in rats
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