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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:7903918. doi: 10.1155/2017/7903918. Epub 2017 Jun 14.

Huanglian-Jie-Du-Tang Extract Ameliorates Depression-Like Behaviors through BDNF-TrkB-CREB Pathway in Rats with Chronic Unpredictable Stress.

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Basic Medicine Department, Hangzhou Medical College, Hangzhou 310053, China.
The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310009, China.


Neuroinflammation is considered as one of the common pathogeneses of depression. Huanglian-Jie-Du-Tang (HJDT) is a traditional Chinese herbal formula. The present study investigates the antidepressant-like effect of HJDT and its possible mechanism in rats. Rats were given HJDT (2, 4, and 8 g/kg, intragastrically), paroxetine (1.8 mg/kg, intragastrically), or an equivalent volume of saline for 42 days. The depression-related behaviors, including sucrose preference test (SPT), open field test (OFT), novel objective recognition task (NORT), and forced swimming test (FST), were detected. 5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) contents, microglial activation, proinflammatory cytokines, and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), tropomyosin receptor kinases B (TrkB), and cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) expression were investigated. The results indicated HJDT (2 and 4 g/kg) dramatically ameliorated the depression-like behaviors. Also HJDT decreased the number of microglia and the proinflammatory cytokines in hippocampus. Western-blotting analysis displayed HJDT upregulated BDNF, TrkB, and pCREB/CREB expression in hippocampus. Particularly, pCREB DNA activity enhanced with HJDT treatment in hippocampus. But there was no difference in the 5-HT and DA contents with HJDT treatment. In conclusion, it was supposed that HJDT might be a potential Chinese medicine decoction for treating or alleviating complex symptoms of depression through BDNF-TrkB-CREB pathway.

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