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

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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.

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Change history

  • 14 September 2020

    The original article contains mistake. The authors want to add Wenhui Pei as first co-author and Fang Fang as co-corresponding author.


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

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Correspondence to Yikun Sun.

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Sun, Y., Zhang, N., Qu, Y. et al. Shuangxia decoction alleviates p-chlorophenylalanine induced insomnia through the modification of serotonergic and immune system. Metab Brain Dis 35, 315–325 (2020).

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  • Shuangxia decoction
  • PCPA
  • Insomnia
  • Sedative-hypnotic effects
  • Serotonergic system