Ethanol extract of Rehmannia glutinosa exerts antidepressant-like effects on a rat chronic unpredictable mild stress model by involving monoamines and BDNF
The dried roots of Rehmannia glutinosa Libosch. (Scrophulariaceae) are of both medicinal and nutritional importance. Our previous study has found that the 80% ethanol extract of R. glutinosa (RGEE) produced antidepressant-like activities in mouse behavioral despair depression models. However, its mechanisms are still unclear. The present study aimed to observe the antidepressant-like mechanisms of RGEE on a rat chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) model by involving monoaminergic neurotransmitters and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). CUMS-stressed rats were orally given RGEE daily (150, 300, and 600 mg/kg) or fluoxetine hydrochloride (FH) for 3 weeks after starting the CUMS procedure. Sucrose preference test was carried out to observe depression-like behavior, and serum and brain tissues were used for neurochemical and fluorescent quantitative reverse transcription PCR analysis. Results demonstrated that CUMS induced depression-like behavior, whereas RGEE and FH administration inhibited this symptom. Furthermore, CUMS caused excessively elevated levels of serum corticosterone (CORT), an index of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis hyperactivity, in a manner attenuated by RGEE and FH administration. RGEE administration also further elevated monoamine neurotransmitters and BDNF levels, up-regulated the mRNA expression of BDNF and tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) in hippocampus of rats suffering CUMS. Together, our findings suggest that RGEE can improve CUMS-evoked depression-like behavior, and indicate its mechanisms may partially be associated with restoring HPA axis dysfunctions, enhancing monoamineergic nervous systems, and up-regulating BDNF and TrkB expression.
KeywordsAntidepressant Rehmannia glutinosa BDNF Monoamineergic nervous system Chronic unpredictable mild stress Antidepressant
This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81773928), the National Science & Technology Pillar Program of China during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (2011BAI06B02), the Funding Scheme for Young Key Teachers of Colleges and Universities in Henan Province (2014GGJS-072), and the Science and Technology Project of Zhengzhou (20150309).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
There is no conflict of interest to disclose.
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