Long-term treatment with peony glycosides reverses chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced depressive-like behavior via increasing expression of neurotrophins in rat brain.Behav Brain Res. 2010 Jul 11; 210(2):171-7.BB
The root part of Paeonia lactiflora Pall., commonly known as peony, is a commonly used Chinese herb for the treatment of depression-like disorders. Previous studies in our laboratory have showed that total glycosides of peony (TGP) produced antidepressant-like action in various mouse models of behavioral despair. The present study aimed to investigate the mechanism(s) underlying the antidepressant-like action of TGP by measuring neurotrophins including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) in non-stressed and chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS)-treated rats. TGP (80 or 160 mg/kg/day) was administered by oral gavage to the animals for 5 weeks. The results showed that CUMS caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by the significant decreases in sucrose consumption and locomotor activity (assessed by open-field test). In addition, it was found that BDNF contents in the hippocampus and frontal cortex were significantly decreased in CUMS-treated rats. CUMS treatment also significantly decreased the level of NGF in the frontal cortex of the animals. Daily intragastric administration of TGP (80 or 160 mg/kg/day) during the five weeks of CUMS significantly suppressed behavioral and biochemical changes induced by CUMS. Treating non-stressed animals with TGP (160 mg/kg) for 5 weeks also significantly increased BDNF contents in the hippocampus and frontal cortex, and NGF contents in the frontal cortex. The results suggest that the antidepressant-like action of TGP is mediated, at least in part, by increasing the expression of BDNF and NGF in selective brain tissues.