The present study aimed at evaluating the ameliorative efficacy of daily oral treatment of adult male rats with either the chemical alprazolam (ALZ) drug (0.3 mg/kg b.wt) or the herb valerian (VAL) extract (300 mg/kg b.wt) against changes in serum levels of IL-6 and liver function biomarkers ALT, AST , ALP activity . and erythrocyte indices induced by daily (chronic) exposure of rats to restraint (RST) stress (2.5 h /day) for 4 weeks . Rats were divided into 6 groups (10 rats each) ; group 1 : Non-RST control group; group 2 : RST rats ; group 3 : non-RST + ALZ treated rats ; group 4 : non- RST + VAL extract treated rats ; group 5 : RST + ALZ treated rats; group 6 : RST + VAL extract treated rats . Blood samples were withdrawn from the retro- orbital venous plexus of each rat under slight ether anesthesiainto plain and EDTA glass tubes for separating sera samples and measuring erythrocyte indices respectively. RST exposed rats showed significant increases in serum levels of IL-6 , ALT, AST , ALP activity and significant increases in RBCs count, values of Hb, HCT, MCV, MCH and MCHC. Administration of ALZ alone to non-RST rats had no significant effect on serum level of IL-6 , but showed significant increase in serum activity of ALT, AST , ALP, and significant decreases in total RBCs counts , Hb , HCT, MCV, MCH and MCHC values. Whereas administration of VAL extract alone to non-RST rats did not cause any significant change in all former parameters . ALZ treatment of RST rats selectively did not ameliorate stress induced changes in ALT, AST , ALP activity, but markedly protected erythrocyte indices against RST stress effects . On the contrary , administration of VAL extract to RST rats revealed its ability to markedly and selectively ameliorate the changes induced by RST stress in serum IL-6 level and the activity of liver enzymes measured , but had weaker ameliorative effect on stress induced changes in erythrocyte indices measured.
Key words: alprazolam; valerian; restraint stress; liver function; IL-6; hematology