Research: Sun Ten Lotus Seed Decreases Depression-like Symptoms


Nelumbinis Semen Reverses a Decrease in 5-HTIA Receptor Binding Induced by Chronic Mild Stress, a Depression-like Symptom

Choon-Gon Jang, Moonkyu Kang, Jae-Han Cho, Sun-Bok Lee, Hyuntaek Kim, Soonkwon Park, Jinwoo Lee, Seong-Kyu Park, Moochang Hong, Min Kyu Shin, In-Sup Shim, and Hyunsu Bae


Depression is associated with a dysfunctional serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) system.

More recently, several lines of evidence suggest that an important factor in the development of depression may be a deficit in the function and expression of 5-HT1A receptors. The present study assessed if Nelumbinis Semen (N. s.) had an anti-depression effect through reversing a decrease in 5-HT1A receptor binding in rats with depression-like symptoms induced by chronic mild stress. Using a 5-HT1A receptor binding assay, with a specific 5-HT1A receptor agonist, 8-OH-DPAT (8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino) tetralin), the mechanism of the anti-depression effect of N. s. on rats was investigated, and the effects compared with two well-known antidepressants, Hyperium Perforatum (St. Johns Wort) and fluoxetine (Prozac). Animals were divided into five groups: the normal (N) group without chronic mild stress (CMS), the control (C) group under CMS for 8 weeks, the Nelumbinis Semen (N. s.) treatment group under CMS for 8 weeks, the Hyperium Perforatum (H. p.) treatment group under CMS for 8 weeks and finally, the fluoxetine (F) treatment group under CMS for 8 weeks. Each treatment was administered to rats during the last 4 weeks of the 8-week CMS. A sucrose intake test was performed to test the anti-depression effect of N. s. The N. s. treatment significantly reversed the decreased sucrose intake under CMS (P<0.05 compared to control group under CMS). In the CA2 and CA3 regions of the hippocampus, both N. s. and H. p. reversed the CMS-induced decrease in 5-HT1A receptor binding. In the I to II regions of the frontal cortex, N. s. and H. p. also reversed the CMS-induced decrease in 5-HT1A receptor binding, and even showed a significant increase in 5-HT1A receptor binding compared to the F treatment group (N. s. vs. P, p<0.05, H. p. vs. P, p<0.05). However, in the hypothalamus, all treatments reversed the CMS-induced decrease in 5-HT1A receptor binding. This reversal effect of N. s. on the decrease in 5-HT1A receptor binding in the frontal cortex, hippocampus and hypothalamus of rat brains was very similar to that of H. p, but different from that of F. It is concluded that N. s. presents an anti-depression effect through enhancing 5-HT1A receptor binding.

Key words: Dysfunctional 5-HT system, 5-HT1A receptor, Nelumbinis Semen, Anti-depression, Chronic mild stress

  1. Introduction
  2. Material and Methods
    1. Animals
    2. Preparation of anti-depressants: The sprayed-dry extracts of Nelumbinis Semen used were purchased from the Sun-Ten Pharmaceutical Company,
    3. Chronic mild stress
    4. Drug administration
    5. Sucrose intake
    6. Receptor autoradiography
    7. Analysis of autoradiograms
    8. Statistical analysis
  3. Results
    1. The reversal effect of decreased sucrose intake induced under CMS by N. s. treatment
    2. 5-HT1A receptor binding in CA2 region of hippocampus
    3. 5-HT1A receptor binding in CA3 region of hippocampus
    4. 5-HT1A receptor binding in I U region of frontal cortex
    5. 5-HT1A receptor binding in hypothalamus
    6. Discussion
    7. References

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