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J Med Food. 2015 Dec;18(12):1333-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.3412. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Valerenic Acid Protects Against Physical and Psychological Stress by Reducing the Turnover of Serotonin and Norepinephrine in Mouse Hippocampus-Amygdala Region.

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1 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Research Institute for Veterinary Science, Seoul National University , Seoul, South Korea .
2 Department of Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kangwon National University , Gangwon, South Korea .
3 Food Analysis Center, Korea Food Research Institute , Gyeonggi, South Korea .


In a previous study, we demonstrated that a Valeriana officinalis extract could attenuate increases in serum corticosterone levels in a mouse model of physical and psychological stress. In addition, our results showed that the extract could modulate serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE) turnover in the hippocampus and amygdala region. In this study, we intended to investigate the effects of valerenic acid (VA), the main component of V. officinalis extract, on corticosterone levels in serum in normal mice and monoamine turnover in hippocampus-amygdala homogenates in a mouse model of physical and psychological stress. To determine the minimum dose of VA for antianxiety effect, eight-week-old ICR mice were orally administered VA (0.2, 0.5, and 1.0 mg/kg/0.3 mL) once daily for 3 weeks to probe for immobility time and serum corticosterone levels. At a VA dose of 0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg, animals showed a decrease in the duration of immobility time and serum corticosterone levels. To confirm the antianxiety effect of VA, eight-week-old ICR mice received VA at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg, orally, once daily for 3 weeks, before being subjected to physical or psychological stress for 3 days, in a specially designed communication box, followed by estimation of levels of monoamines and their metabolites in the hippocampus-amygdala region. In conclusion, VA administration at 0.5 mg/kg can mitigate the physical and psychological stress response by decreasing the turnover of 5-HT to 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and NE to 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethyleneglycol sulfate in the hippocampus and amygdala.


norepinephrine; physical stress; psychological stress; serotonin; serum corticosterone; valerenic acid

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