The Antidepressant Effect of Angelica sinensis Extracts on Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress-Induced Depression Is Mediated via the Upregulation of the BDNF Signaling Pathway in Rats.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016 ;2016:7434692. Epub 2016 Aug 25. PMID: 27642354
Angelica sinensis (AS), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, has pharmaceutical effects on menstrual illness, cerebrovascular diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cognitive impairments. However, until recently, few studies had explored its antidepressant effect. The current study attempts to investigate the effect of AS extracts on chronic unpredictable mild stress- (CUMS-) induced depression in rats. Male SD rats were exposed to a CUMS-inducing procedure for 5 weeks, resulting in rodent depressive behaviors that included reduced sucrose consumption and lessened sucrose preference ratios in sucrose preference test, prolonged immobility times and decreased struggling time in force swim test, and decreased locomotor activity in open field test. Moreover, the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the phosphorylation of cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK 1/2) were markedly decreased in the hippocampus in depressed rats. However, chronically treating the depressed rats with AS (1 g/kg) normalized their depression-related behaviors and molecular profiles. In conclusion, in the present study, we show that AS extracts exerted antidepressant effects that were mediated by the BDNF signaling pathway: in AS-treated depressed rats, the expression of the BDNF protein and the phosphorylation of its downstream targets (ERK 1/2, CREB) were upregulated in the hippocampus.