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Icariin is recognized as the major bioactive component of Herba Epimedii. The aim of this study was to evaluate the anti-fatigue properties of icariin using a weight-loaded forced swimming test. The mice were randomly divided into four groups, a control group and three icariin treatment groups. The icariin treated groups received different doses of icariin per os (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg of body weight/per day) for 4 weeks, while the control group received equal amount of distilled water. After 4 weeks, exhaustive swimming times and some biochemical parameters related to fatigue were measured. The data showed that icariin could prolong exhaustive swimming times of mice, which was accompanied by increases in blood glucose, hemoglobin and glycogen levels, and decreases in blood lactic acid (BLA) and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. Overall, these results suggest that icariin possesses anti-fatigue properties.
Icariin, weight-loaded forced swimming test, exhaustive swimming times, biochemical parameters, mice