Shuangxia decoction alleviates p-chlorophenylalanine induced insomnia through the modification of serotonergic and immune system

  • Yujie Sun
  • Na Zhang
  • Yuxia Qu
  • Yijia Cao
  • Jianhao Li
  • Yuwei Yang
  • Tiange Yang
  • Yikun SunEmail author
Original Article


As a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shuangxia Decoction (SXD) has been used to treat insomnia in oriental countries for more than thousands of years and it presents remarkable clinical effects. However, its active pharmacological fraction and the mechanism of sedative-hypnotic effects have not been explored. In this paper, we investigated active pharmacological fraction and revealed the detailed mechanisms underlying the sedative-hypnotic effects of SXD. It showed that SXD water extract compared to ethanol extract possessed better sedative effects on locomotion activity in normal mice and increased sleep duration in subhypnotic dose of sodium pentobarbital-treated mice. SXD alleviated p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) -induced insomnia by increasing the content of 5-HT in cortex [F (4, 55) = 12.67], decreasing the content of dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE). Furthermore, SXD enhanced the expression of 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors in hypothalamic and reduced serum levels of IL-1,TNF-α [F (5, 36) = 15.58]. In conclusion, these results indicated that SXD produced beneficial sedative and hypnotic bioactivities mediated by regulating the serotonergic and immune system.


Shuangxia decoction PCPA Insomnia Sedative-hypnotic effects Serotonergic system 



We acknowledge financial supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81173521).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chinese Material MedicaBeijing University of Chinese MedicineBeijingChina

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