Paeoniflorin Ameliorates Chronic Stress-Induced Depression-Like Behaviors and Neuronal Damages in Rats via Activation of the ERK-CREB Pathway.
Front Psychiatry. 2018 ;9:772. Epub 2019 Jan 14. PMID: 30692946
Neuronal damage is related to the onset and treatment of depressive disorders. Antidepressant-like effects have been elicited by paeoniflorin on animal models. The aim of this study is to demonstrate whether the neuroprotective effect of paeoniflorin on rats suffered from chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) was regulated by the ERK-CREB signaling pathway. Results showed that paeoniflorin not only ameliorated depressive-like behavior with low locomotor activity and prolonged immobility duration in our forced swimming test but also reduced sucrose consumption. Paeoniflorin treatment decreased the degree of neuronal damage in the hippocampus of the model rats. Conversely, it markedly increased the mRNA levels of ERK1, ERK2, and CREB and the levels of ERK, p-ERK, CREB, and p-CREB protein expression in the hippocampus. Blockade of the ERK-CREB axis with the ERK-specific inhibitor U0126 repressed the neuroprotective and antidepressant-like effects of paeoniflorin on rats in the setting of chronic-mild-stress and abolished the recoveries of p-ERK mediated by paeoniflorin treatment. Thus, paeoniflorin possibly exerted a neuroprotective effect modulated by the ERK-CREB signaling pathway on CUMS-induced hippocampal damage in rats.