Antidepressant-like effect of the water extract of the fixed combination of Gardenia jasminoides, Citrus aurantium and Magnolia officinalis in a rat model of chronic unpredictable mild stress.
Phytomedicine. 2015 Dec 1 ;22(13):1178-85. Epub 2015 Nov 16. PMID: 26598917
BACKGROUND: Water extract of the fixed combination of Gardenia jasminoides Ellis fruit, Citrus aurantium L. fruit and Magnolia officinalis Rehd. et Wils. bark, traditional name - Zhi-Zi-Hou-Po (ZZHPD) is used for treatment of depressive-like symptoms in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
HYPOTHESIS/PURPOSE: The present study aimed to explore antidepressant-like effects and potential mechanisms of ZZHPD in a rat model of chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS).
STUDY DESIGN: Antidepressant-like effects of ZZHPD were investigated through behavioral tests, and potential mechanism was assessed by neuroendocrine system, neurotrophin and hippocampal neurogenesis.
METHODS: Antidepressant-like effects of ZZHPD (3.66, 7.32 and 14.64 g/kg/day) were estimated through coat state test, sucrose preference test, forced swimming test and open-field test. Effects of ZZHPD on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis were evaluated by hormones measurement and dexamethasone suppression test. In addition, the expression of brain-derivedneurotrophic factor (BDNF) in hippocampus was measured, as well as hippocampal neurogenesis was investigated by doublecortin (DCX) and 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine/neuronal nuclei (BrdU/NeuN).
RESULTS: The results demonstrated that ZZHPD significantly reversed the depressive-like behaviors, normalized the levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone (CORT), restored the negative feedback loop of HPA axis and improved the levels of BDNF, DCX and BrdU/NeuN compared with those in CUMS-induced rats.
CONCLUSION: The above results revealed that ZZHPD exerted antidepressant-like effects possibly by normalizing HPA axis function, increasing expression of BDNF in hippocampus and promoting hippocampal neurogenesis.