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Purpose: To study the antidepressant effects of Shu-Gan-Jie-Yu granule (SJG) and its possible mechanisms in mice.
Methods: The anti-depressive effects of SJG were evaluated by three techniques, viz, forced swimming test (FST), tail suspension test (TST) and open field test (OFT). The levels of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine (NE), DA, and 5-HT in the brains of depressive mice were determined using commercially available kits. In addition, the effects of SJG on the BDNF expression in the mice brain were determined by western blot.
Results: Administration of SJG significantly reduced the duration time of immobility in the experiments of FST and TST. In addition, relative to the control mice, SJG (800 mg/kg) administration significantly affected the mobility performance (p < 0.05) of mice. The levels of the three neurotransmitters (DA, NE and 5-HT) and BDNF in the brains of depressive mice were increased by treatment with SJG at the doses of 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg (p < 0.05). The results suggested that SJG exerted a significant antidepressant effect, which could be attributed to increases in the levels of neurotransmitters, and the up-regulation of BDNF expression.
Conclusion: The results suggested that SJG exerted a significant antidepressant effect, most probably via regulation of related neurotransmitters (including DA, NE, and 5-HT) and BDNF in the brain.
Keywords: Shu-Gan-Jie-Yu granule, Antidepressant, dopamine, norepinephrine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, brain-derived neurotrophic factor