, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 745-755
Date: 24 Jul 2007

Effects of the Chinese Traditional Prescription Xiaoyaosan Decoction on Chronic Immobilization Stress-induced Changes in Behavior and Brain BDNF, TrkB, and NT-3 in Rats

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The Xiaoyaosan (XYS) decoction, a Chinese traditional prescription containing eight commonly used herbs, has been used for treatment of mental disorders such as depression for centuries in China. However, the mechanism underlying its antidepressant activity is poorly understood. In rats with chronic immobilization stress (CIS), we examined the effects of the XYS decoction on tail suspension behavior and the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), tyroxine hydroxylase (TrkB), and neurotrophin 3 (NT-3) in the frontal cortex and hippocampus. Rats subjected to CIS exhibited decreases in weight-gain, food intake, and ambulation in the open field test; they also showed an increase in immobility in the tail suspension test. These were all attenuated by the XYS decoction. Biochemically, the XYS decoction also reversed CIS-induced decreases in BDNF and increases in TrkB and NT-3 in the frontal cortex and the hippocampal CA1 subregion. The behavioral effects of the XYS were correlated to the biochemical actions. These results suggest that the XYS decoction produces an antidepressant-like effect, which appears to be involved by BDNF in the brain.