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Molecules 2014, 19(5), 5634-5649; doi:10.3390/molecules19055634

β-Asarone Reverses Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress-Induced Depression-Like Behavior and Promotes Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Rats

, , ,  and *
Department of Pathology, Qiqihar Medical University, 333 BuKui Street, JianHua District, Qiqihar 161006, China These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 March 2014 / Revised: 8 April 2014 / Accepted: 17 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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In this study, we investigated the influence of β-asarone, the major ingredient of Acorus tatarinowii Schott, on depressive-like behavior induced by the chronic unpredictable mild stresses (CUMS) paradigm and to clarify the underlying mechanisms. The results show that β-asarone treatment partially reversed the CUMS-induced depression-like behaviors in both the forced swim and sucrose preference tests. The behavioral effects were associated with increased hippocampal neurogenesis indicated by bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) immunoreactivity. β-Asarone treatment significantly increased the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) at levels of transcription and translation. Moreover, CUMS caused significant reduction in ERK1/2 and CREB phosphorylation, both of which were partially attenuated by β-asarone administration. It is important to note that β-asarone treatment had no effect on total levels or phosphorylation state of any of the proteins examined in ERK1/2-CREB pathway in no stress rats, suggesting that β-asarone acts in a stress-dependent manner to block ERK1/2-CREB signaling. We did not observe a complete reversal of depression-like behaviors to control levels by β-asarone. To our knowledge, the present study is the first to demonstrate that adult neurogenesis is involved in the antidepressant-like behavioral effects of β-asarone, suggesting that β-asarone is a promising candidate for the treatment of depression.
Keywords: depression; β-asarone; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; neurogenesis depression; β-asarone; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; neurogenesis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Dong, H.; Gao, Z.; Rong, H.; Jin, M.; Zhang, X. β-Asarone Reverses Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress-Induced Depression-Like Behavior and Promotes Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Rats. Molecules 2014, 19, 5634-5649.

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