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J Neurochem. 2017 Dec;143(5):561-568. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14226.

Fisetin provides antidepressant effects by activating the tropomyosin receptor kinase B signal pathway in mice.

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Department of Neurology, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou City, China.
Institute of Neuroscience, Soochow University, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China.
Cecile Cox Quillen Laboratory of Geriatrics, College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA.


Depression has been associated with a low-grade chronic inflammatory state, suggesting a potential therapeutic role for anti-inflammatory agents. Fisetin is a naturally occurring flavonoid in strawberries that has anti-inflammatory activities, but whether fisetin has antidepressant effects is unknown. In this study, we exposed mice to spatial restraint for 2 weeks with or without treatment with fisetin. Immobility time in the forced swimming and tail suspension test after this restraint increased in the untreated group, but this increase did not occur in the fisetin group. We administered fisetin to Abelson helper integration site-1 (Ahi1) knockout mice, which have depressive phenotypes. We found that fisetin attenuated the depressive phenotype of these Ahi1 knockout mice. We further investigated the potential mechanism of fisetin's antidepressant effects. Because TrkB is a critical signaling pathway in the mechanisms of depression, we examined whether phosphorylated TrkB was involved in the antidepressant effects of fisetin. We found that fisetin increased phosphorylated TrkB level without altering total TrkB; this increase was attenuated by K252a, a specific TrkB inhibitor. Taken together, our results demonstrated that fisetin may have therapeutic potential for treating depression and that this antidepressant effect may be mediated by the activation of the TrkB signaling pathway.


TrkB; antidepressant; behaviors; depression; fisetin

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