Zhen Huang

Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hang-hsien, Zhejiang Sheng, China

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Publications (22)41.91 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A mouse model of depression has been recently developed by exogenous corticosterone administration. The present study aimed to examine the antidepressant-like effect and the possible mechanisms of piperine, a major alkaloid of black pepper (Piper nigrum Linn.) and long pepper (P. longum Linn.), in corticosterone-induced depression in mice. The results showed that 3-week corticosterone injections caused depression-like behavior in mice, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test and tail suspension test. Moreover, it was found that brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein and mRNA levels in the hippocampus were significantly decreased in corticosterone-treated mice. Treating the animals with piperine significantly suppressed behavioral and biochemical changes induced by corticosterone. The results suggest that piperine produces an antidepressant-like effect in corticosterone-treated mice, which is possibly mediated by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in the hippocampus.
    Neurochemistry International 05/2014; · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A new ursane-type triterpene, cymosic acid (1) together with two known compounds, 3β,19α-dihydroxy-2-oxo-12-ursen-28-oic acid (2) and 2α,19α-dihydroxy-3-oxo-12-ursen-28-oic acid (3), were isolated from Rosa cymosa Tratt. The structure of compound 1 was elucidated by analyzing its (1)H and (13)C NMR, (1)H-(1)H COSY, HSQC, HMBC, NOESY, and HR-ESI-MS values. The three compounds were found to display moderate inhibitory activities against nitric oxide production in lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophage cell lines, RAW 264.7 cells.
    Journal of Asian natural products research 04/2014; 16(4):422-5. · 0.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies in our laboratory have demonstrated that piperine produced antidepressant-like action in various mouse models of behavioral despair, which was related to the serotonergic system. The present study aimed to examine the behavioral and biochemical effects of piperine in rats exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS). The results showed that CUMS caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test. In addition, it was found that serotonin (5-HT) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) contents in the hippocampus and frontal cortex were significantly decreased in CUMS-treated rats. Treating the animals with piperine significantly suppressed behavioral and biochemical changes induced by CUMS. The results suggest that piperine produces an antidepressant-like effect in CUMS-treated rats, which is possibly mediated by increasing 5-HT and BDNF contents in selective brain tissues.
    Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 01/2014; · 2.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A mouse model of depression has been recently developed by exogenous corticosterone administration. The present study aimed to examine the antidepressant-like effect and the possible mechanisms of piperine, a major alkaloid of black pepper (Piper nigrum Linn.) and long pepper (Piperlongum Linn.), in corticosterone-induced depression in mice. The results showed that 3-weeks corticosterone injections caused depression-like behavior in mice, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test and tail suspension test. Moreover, it was found that brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein and mRNA levels in the hippocampus were significantly decreased in corticosterone-treated mice. Treating the animals with piperine significantly suppressed behavioral and biochemical changes induced by corticosterone. The results suggest that piperine produces an antidepressant-like effect in corticosterone-treated mice, which is possibly mediated by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in the hippocampus.
    Neurochemistry International 01/2014; · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies in our laboratory have demonstrated that piperine produced antidepressant-like action in various mouse models of behavioral despair. This study aimed to investigate the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signalling in the antidepressant-like effect of piperine in mice exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS). The results showed that CUMS caused depression-like behavior in mice, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test. It was also found that BDNF protein expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex were significantly decreased in CUMS-treated mice. Chronic treatment of piperine at the dose of 10mg/kg significantly ameliorated behavioural deficits of CUMS-treated mice in the sucrose preference test and forced swim test. Piperine treatment also significantly decreased immobility time in the forced swim test in naive mice. In parallel, chronic piperine treatment significantly increased BDNF protein expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of both naive and CUMS-treated mice. In addition, inhibition of BDNF signalling by injection of K252a, an inhibitor of the BDNF receptor TrkB, significantly blocked the antidepressant-like effect of piperine in the sucrose preference test and forced swim test of CUMS-treated mice. Taken together, this study suggests that BDNF signalling is an essential mediator for the antidepressant-like effect of piperine.
    Behavioural brain research 12/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Peony is often used in Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of depression-like disorders. Our previous studies have demonstrated that the total glycosides of peony exert antidepressant-like effects in animal models. Paeoniflorin is the main active glycoside of peony. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin in mice, as well as its active mechanisms. The results revealed that intraperitoneally injected paeoniflorin significantly reduced the duration of immobility in forced swimming and tail suspension tests. The doses that affected the immobility response did not affect locomotor activity. Furthermore, paeoniflorin antagonized reserpine-induced ptosis, akinesia and hypothermia. Paeoniflorin also significantly increased the levels of serotonin (5-HT) and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the hippocampus. These results suggest that the upregulation of serotonergic systems may be an important mechanism for the antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin in mice.
    Experimental and therapeutic medicine 04/2013; 5(4):1113-1116. · 0.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously demonstrated that the total glycosides of peony exert antidepressant-like effects in animal models. Paeoniflorin is the main active glycoside of peony. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin in a rat model of chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) and its active mechanisms. The results showed that CUS-exposed rats exhibited depressive-like behaviour with reduced weight, low motor activity as well as reduced consumption of sucrose, biochemical changes with increased concentrations of corticosterone and adrenocorticotropic hormone and neurochemical changes with reduced monoamine neurotransmitter levels. Paeoniflorin treatment markedly increased sucrose consumption and decreased serum corticosterone and adrenocorticotropic hormone levels in the CUS-treated rats. Furthermore, paeoniflorin treatment significantly attenuated CUS-induced reductions in noradrenaline, serotonin and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid as well as CUS-induced increases in the ratio between the latter two factors. These results suggest that the modulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and up-regulation of serotonergic and noradrenergic systems are important mechanisms underlying the antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin in CUS-treated rats.
    Neuroscience Letters 02/2013; · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malonyl-CoA:acyl-carrier protein transacylase (MCAT), which transfers the malonyl group from malonyl-CoA to holo-acyl carrier protein (ACP), is a key enzyme in fatty acid biosynthesis. Schizochytrium sp. TIO1101 is a marine protist with high levels of docosahexaenoic acid accumulation. In this study, the putative fabD gene coding MCAT was isolated from Schizochytrium sp. TIO1101. The Schizochytrium MCAT gene (ScTIOfabD) contained an 1176 bp open reading frame encoding a protein of 391 amino acids. The ScTIOfabD gene exhibited high novelty in nucleotide and amino acid sequence. The highest amino acid identity was only 35 % between ScTIOMCAT and the reported MCATs. Further studies demonstrated that ScTIOMCAT could bind malonyl-CoA directly and transfer malonyl group from malonyl-CoA to the ACP domain in vitro. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that ScTIOMCAT was relative close to MCATs of yeast strains. Overexpression of ScTIOMCAT in Saccharomyces cereviseae significantly increased the MCAT activity, without negative effects on the growth rate of the host strain. In addition, ScTIOMCAT generated 16.8 and 62 % increase in biomass and fatty acid accumulation, respectively, and did not alter the profile of fatty acid. Our results indicated that the novel MCAT gene from Schizochytrium sp. TIO1101 was crucial for fatty acid synthesis and had potential applications for genetic modifications of oil-producing species.
    World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (Formerly MIRCEN Journal of Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology) 01/2013; · 1.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Danggui-Shaoyao-San (DSS), a famous Chinese herbal formula, has been widely used in the treatment of various diseases. Previous studies have shown that DSS produces antidepressant-like effect in rodents. This study aims to investigate the mechanism(s) underlying the antidepressant-like action of DDS. The results showed that DSS treatment significantly antagonized reserpine-induced ptosis in mice. In addition, DSS treatment significantly increased sucrose consumption in chronic unpredictable stress- (CUS-) treated mice. DSS treatment also markedly attenuated CUS-induced decreases in noradrenaline and dopamine concentrations in mouse brain. Furthermore, DSS treatment significantly reversed CUS-induced increase in serum malondialdehyde (MDA) content and decrease in serum superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in mice. The results suggest that the antidepressant-like activity of DSS is probably mediated by the modulation of central monoamine neurotransmitter systems and the reduction of oxidative stress.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2012; 2012:173565. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperactivation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the associated hippocampal atrophy were observed in patients with depression, which could be ameliorated by the treatment with antidepressants. Therefore, neuroprotection has been proposed to be one of the acting mechanisms of antidepressant. Our previous studies have showed that treating mice with piperine produced antidepressant-like effect in animal models of behavioral despair. This study aimed to examine the protective effect of piperine treatment on corticosterone-induced neurotoxicity in cultured rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. The results showed that piperine co-treatment revealed a differential effect on the cytotoxicity of corticosterone and had its maximum inhibitory effect at 1 μM. Piperine (1 μM) co-treatment also significantly decreased intracellular reactive oxygen species level, and enhanced superoxide dismutase activity and total glutathione level in corticosterone-treated PC12 cells. In addition, piperine (1 μM) co-treatment was found to reverse the decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA level caused by corticosterone in PC12 cells. The results suggest that piperine exerts a neuroprotective effect on corticosterone-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells, at least in part, via the inhibition of oxidative stress and the upregulation of BDNF mRNA expression. This neuroprotective effect may be one of the acting mechanisms accounts for the in vivo antidepressant activity of piperine.
    Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 12/2011; 32(4):531-7. · 2.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neuroprotection has been proposed as one of the acting mechanisms of antidepressants. Paeoniflorin, a monoterpene glycoside, has been reported to display antidepressant-like effects in animal models of behavioural despair. The present study aimed to examine the protective effect of paeoniflorin treatment on corticosterone-induced neurotoxicity in cultured rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. Paeoniflorin was shown to elevate cell viability, decrease levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) in corticosterone-treated PC12 cells. Paeoniflorin also reversed the reduced nerve growth factor (NGF) mRNA level caused by corticosterone in PC12 cells. The results suggest that paeoniflorin exerts a neuroprotective effect on corticosterone-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells, at least in part, via the inhibition of oxidative stress and the up-regulation of NGF expression. This neuroprotective effect may be one of the action pathways that accounts for the in vivo antidepressant activity of paeoniflorin.
    Phytotherapy Research 12/2011; 26(7):969-73. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Repeated injections of corticosterone (CORT) induce the dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, resulting in depressive-like behavior. This study aimed to examine the antidepressant-like effect and the possible mechanisms of total glycosides of peony (TGP) in the CORT-induced depression model in rats. The results showed that the 3-week CORT injections induced the significant increase in serum CORT levels in rats. Repeated CORT injections also caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test. Moreover, it was found that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex were significantly decreased in CORT-treated rats. Treatment of the rats with TGP significantly suppressed the depression-like behavior and increased brain BDNF levels in CORT-treated rats. The results suggest that TGP produces an antidepressant-like effect in CORT-treated rats, which is possibly mediated by increasing BDNF expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex.
    Behavioural brain research 11/2011; 227(1):305-9. · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our previous studies have showed that treating mice with piperine significantly decreased the immobility time of the animals in the forced swim test and tail suspension test, which was related to up-regulation of serotonin (5-HT) level in the brain. The purpose of this study is to explore the contribution of 5-HT receptors in the antidepressant-like effect of piperine. The results showed that pre-treating mice with methiothepin (a non-selective 5-HT receptor antagonist, 0.1mg/kg, intraperitoneally), 4-(2'-methoxy-phenyl)-1-[2'-(n-2″-pyridinyl)-p-iodobenzamino-]ethyl-piperazine (a selective 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist, 1mg/kg, subcutaneously) or 1-(2-(1-pyrrolyl)-phenoxy)-3-isopropylamino-2-propanol (a 5-HT(1B) receptor antagonist, 2.5mg/kg, intraperitoneally) was found to abolish the anti-immobility effect of piperine (10mg/kg, intraperitoneally) in the forced swim test. On the other hand, a sub-effective dose of piperine (1mg/kg, intraperitoneally) produced a synergistic antidepressant-like effect with (+)-8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (a 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist, 1mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or anpirtoline (a 5-HT(1B) receptor agonist, 0.25mg/kg, intraperitoneally). Taken together, these results suggest that the antidepressant-like effect of piperine in the mouse forced swim test may be mediated, at least in part, by the activation of 5-HT(1A) and 5-HT(1B) receptors.
    Neuroscience Letters 09/2011; 504(2):181-4. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A rat model of depression has been recently developed using exogenous corticosterone (CORT) administration. This study aimed to examine the antidepressant-like effect and the possible mechanisms of curcumin in a CORT-induced depression model in rats. The results showed that 3-week CORT injections caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test. Repeated CORT injections also significantly decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of the rats. Treatment of the rats with curcumin significantly suppressed the depression-like behavior and the decrease in brain BDNF levels induced by the repeated CORT injections. The results suggest that curcumin produces an antidepressant-like effect in CORT-treated rats, which is possibly mediated by increasing BDNF expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex.
    Neuroscience Letters 02/2011; 493(3):145-8. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preclinical and clinical investigations have shown hippocampal neuronal atrophy and destruction were observed in patients with depression, which could be ameliorated by the treatment with antidepressants. Therefore, neuroprotection has been proposed to be one of the acting mechanisms of antidepressant. Paeoniflorin, a monoterpene glycoside, has been reported to display antidepressant-like effects in animal models of behavioral despair. The present study aimed to examine the protective effect of paeoniflorin on glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in cultured rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. The results showed that pretreatment with paeoniflorin elevated cell viability, inhibited apoptosis, decreased levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde, and enhanced activity of superoxide dismutase in glutamate-treated PC12 cells. Pretreatment with paeoniflorin also reversed the increased intracellular Ca(2+) concentration and the reduced Calbindin-D28K mRNA level caused by glutamate in PC12 cells. The results suggest that paeoniflorin exerts a neuroprotective effect on glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells, at least in part, via inhibiting oxidative stress and Ca(2+) overload. This neuroprotective effect may be one of the action pathways accounting for the in vivo antidepressant activity of paeoniflorin.
    Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 10/2010; 30(7):1059-66. · 2.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preclinical and clinical investigation has shown that hippocampal neuronal atrophy and destruction can be observed in patients with depression, and this can be ameliorated with antidepressant medication. Neuroprotection has therefore been proposed as one of the mechanisms of action of antidepressants. Paeoniflorin, a monoterpene glycoside, has been reported to display antidepressant-like effects in animal models of behavioral despair. The present study aimed to examine the protective effect of paeoniflorin treatment on N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced neurotoxicity in cultured rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. Paeoniflorin was shown to elevate cell viability, decrease lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release in NMDA-treated PC12 cells. Paeoniflorin also reversed the increased intracellular calcium (Ca(2+)) concentration and the reduced Calbindin-D28K mRNA level caused by NMDA in PC12 cells. These results suggest that paeoniflorin exerts a neuroprotective effect on NMDA-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells, at least in part, via Ca(2+) antagonism.
    Phytotherapy Research 10/2010; 25(5):681-5. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SYJN is a Chinese herbal formula that contains four herbs: Bupleurum chinense DC., Curcuma aromatica Salisb., Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt., and Acorus tatarinowii Schott. Previous studies conducted in our laboratory have revealed an antidepressant-like effect of the formula in chronic unpredictable stress (CUS)-induced depression model in rats. The present study aimed to investigate whether neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and nerve growth factor (NGF) are involved in the antidepressant-like action of SYJN by using the same depressive model in rats. Rats were subjected to an experimental setting of CUS. The mechanism underlying the antidepressant-like action of SYJN was examined by measuring protein and mRNA expression of NT-3 and NGF in brain tissues of CUS-exposed rats. The results showed that NT-3 protein and mRNA expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex were significantly decreased in CUS-treated rats. CUS treatment also significantly decreased NGF protein and mRNA expression in the frontal cortex of the animals. Daily intragastric administration of SYJN (1300 or 2600 mg/kg/day) during the 4 weeks of CUS significantly suppressed these changes induced by CUS. The results suggest that the antidepressant-like activity of SYJN is likely mediated by the increases in NT-3 and NGF expression in brain tissues.
    Journal of ethnopharmacology 08/2010; 131(1):182-6. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Suyu-Jiaonang (SYJN) is a Chinese herbal formula that contains four herbs: Bupleurum chinense DC, Curcuma aromatica Salisb., Perilla frutescens (Linn.) Britt., and Acorus tatarinowii Schott. Previous studies conducted in our laboratory have revealed an antidepressant-like effect of the formula in various mouse models of behavioral despair. The present study aimed to investigate whether SYJN could produce antidepressant-like effects in chronic unpredictable stress (CUS)-induced depression model in rats and its possible mechanism(s). Rats were subjected to an experimental setting of CUS. The effect of SYJN treatment on CUS-induced depression was examined using behavioral tests including the sucrose consumption and open field tests. The mechanism underlying the antidepressant-like action of SYJN was examined by measuring brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein and mRNA expression in brain tissues of CUS-exposed rats. Exposure to CUS for 4 weeks caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by significant decreases in sucrose consumption and locomotor activity (assessed in the open field test). In addition, it was found that BDNF protein and mRNA levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex were lower in CUS-treated rats, as compared to controls. Daily intragastric administration of SYJN (1300 or 2600 mg/kg) during the 4-week period of CUS significantly suppressed behavioral changes and attenuated the CUS-induced decrease in BDNF protein and mRNA levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex. The results suggest that SYJN alleviates depression induced by CUS. The antidepressant-like activity of SYJN is likely mediated by the increase in BDNF expression in brain tissues.
    Journal of ethnopharmacology 02/2010; 128(2):336-41. · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aim of the studySYJN is a Chinese herbal formula, containing four herbs: Bupleurum chinense DC., Curcuma aromatica Salisb., Perilla frutescens (Linn.) Britt. and Acorus tatarinowii Schott. Previous studies on the formula in our laboratory revealed an antidepressant-like effect on animal models of behavioral despair. However,the mechanisms underlying such antidepressant-like effect are yet to be understood. The aim of this work was to verify the previously established antidepressant-like effects on cell level using corticosterone-induced neurotoxicity in rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells to see if SYJN possesses any neuroprotective properties.Materials and methodsPC12 cells were treated with 200 μM corticosterone in the absence or the presence of various concentrations of SYJN for 48 h. Then, cell viability, apoptosis, intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) concentration and caspase-3 activity were determined.ResultsFollowing the exposure of PC12 cells to 200 μM corticosterone for 48 h, there were reductions in cell survival rate but increases in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. In parallel, corticosterone caused significant elevations in DNA fragmentation, [Ca2+]i concentration and caspase-3 activity. However, when the PC12 cells were incubated with SYJN at different concentrations (10, 50 and 100 mg/L) in the presence of 200 μM corticosterone for 48 h, the above effects were evidently alleviated in a dose-dependent manner.ConclusionSYJN could generate a neuroprotective effect on corticosterone-induced neurotoxicity in PC12 cells, suggesting a possible action pathway of SYJN in vivo by decreasing the [Ca2+]i concentration and caspase-3 activity.
    Journal of ethnopharmacology 01/2009; · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the antidepressant effect of ethanol extract of Paeonia lactiflora (EPL) in mice using forced swim test, tail suspension test, open-field test and reserpine test. Our results showed that intragastric administration of EPL at the doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg for seven days significantly reduced the duration of immobility in both forced swim test and tail suspension test. EPL at the dose of 500 mg/kg was as effective as the positive control (chlorimipramine, 20 mg/kg) in these tests. However, these treatments did not affect the number of crossing and rearing in the open-field test. Treating mice with EPL at the doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg significantly antagonized reserpine-induced ptosis and hypothermia. However, at the dose of 125 mg/kg, EPL antagonized only the hypothermia but not ptosis induced by reserpine. The results clearly demonstrated the antidepressant effect of Paeonia lactiflora in animal models of depression. The action of Paeonia lactiflora may be mediated via the central monoaminergic neurotransmitter system.
    Phytotherapy Research 07/2008; 22(11):1496-9. · 2.07 Impact Factor