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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Jan;94(3):488-95. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.11.003. Epub 2009 Nov 17.

Antidepressant effect of the extracts from Fructus Akebiae.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, 510515, PR China.


Fructus Akebiae is a common ingredient in many traditional Chinese medicine complex prescriptions for the treatment of mental disorders. Previous studies indicate that the main chemical compositions of Fructus Akebiae are triterpenoid saponins with hederagenin as their sapogenin. In the present study, we enriched hederagenin from the extracts of Fructus Akebiae with a purity of approximately 70%. Using behavioral tests sensitive to antidepressant drugs, we demonstrated that acute and sub-chronic administration of the extracts of Fructus Akebiae produced antidepressant-like effects, as evidenced by decreases in the duration of immobility in forced swim and tail suspension tests in mice and reversal of chronic unpredicted mild stress-induced inhibition of sucrose consumption in rats. In addition, the extracts decreased the levels of plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone and serum corticosterone in rats exposed to chronic unpredicted mild stress. Both behavioral and biochemical effects of the extracts were mimicked by the proven antidepressant escitalopram. These results suggest that the extracts of Fructus Akebiae exert antidepressant activity. Administration of the extracts may be beneficial for patients with depressive disorders.

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