, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 275-281

Effects of yokukansan on anxiety-like behavior in a rat model of cerebrovascular dementia

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Abstract

Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are commonly seen in patients with dementia. Current pharmacological approaches to treatment are inadequate, despite the availability of serotonergic agents to ameliorate anxiety, one of the symptoms of BPSD. The herbal medicine yokukansan has been demonstrated to improve BPSD in a randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled study. However, the mechanisms of the anxiolytic effect of yokukansan have not been clarified. There are also no reports on the anxiolytic effect of yokukansan in cerebrovascular ischemia models. In this study, we examined whether rats subjected to repeated cerebral ischemia exhibited anxiety-like behavior in a plus-maze task, a light/dark box test and an open-field task. We then investigated the effect of yokukansan on anxiety-like behavior in ischemic rats. Repeated ischemia was induced by the four-vessel occlusion method in which a 10-min ischemic episode was repeated once after 60 min. Yokukansan was orally administered once a day for 14 days from 7 days before ischemia induction. The last administration was performed 1 h before the behavioral experiments. The ischemic rats showed anxiety-like behavior in all three tasks, suggesting that this rat may be a good model for anxiety in cerebrovascular dementia. Yokukansan exhibited anxiolytic effects on the anxiety-like behavior in rats subjected to repeated cerebral ischemia, and exerted antagonistic effects on the wet-dog shakes induced by 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-indophenyl)-2-amino propane, a serotonin receptor (5-HT2A) agonist. This study revealed that yokukansan shows anxiolytic effects not only in normal animals but also in cerebrovascular model rats.