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A novel herbal treatment reduces depressive-like behaviors and increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in the brain of type 2 diabetic rats

Authors Luo C, Ke YT, Yuan YY, Zhao M, Wang FY, Zhang YS, Bu SH

Received 15 July 2016

Accepted for publication 20 September 2016

Published 29 November 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 3051—3059

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S117337

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang


Chun Luo,1,* Yuting Ke,1,* Yanyan Yuan,1 Ming Zhao,1 Fuyan Wang,1 Yisheng Zhang,2 Shizhong Bu1

1Runliang Diabetes Laboratory, Diabetes Research Center, Ningbo University, 2Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Ningbo Medical Center, Li Huili Eastern Hospital, Ningbo, Zhejiang, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Radix Puerariae and hawthorn fruit have been demonstrated to treat diabetes. They offer potential benefits for preventing depression in diabetes.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the combination of Radix Puerariae and hawthorn fruit (CRPHF) could prevent depression in a diabetic rat model generated by feeding the rats with a high-fat diet and a low-dose streptozotocin (STZ).
Methods: The CRPHF was provided by the Shanghai Chinese Traditional Medical University. Twenty-four rats were randomly divided into four groups: normal control, normal-given-CRPHF (NC), diabetic control, and diabetic-given-CRPHF (DC) groups. The type 2 diabetic model was created by feeding the rats with a high-fat diet for 4 weeks followed by injection of 25 mg/kg STZ. CRPHF was given at 2 g/kg/d to the rats of NC and DC groups by intragastric gavage daily for 4 weeks after the type 2 diabetic model was successfully created. Body weight, random blood glucose (RBG), oral glucose tolerance test, total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were measured during the study. Depressive-like behavior was evaluated at the end of the treatment by using the open field test (OFT), the elevated plus-maze test (EPMT), locomotor activity test (LAT), and forced swimming test (FST). Levels of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the prefrontal cortex were evaluated by using Western blot.
Results: 1) CRPHF reduced RBG and improved glucose tolerance in diabetic rats; 2) CRPHF reduced TC and TG but did not significantly change HDL-C or LDL-C in diabetic rats; 3) CRPHF reversed the loss in body weights observed in diabetic rats; 4) CRPHF reduced depressive-like behavior as measured by OFT, EPMT, LAT, and FST; 5) BDNF was upregulated, and ERK was activated in the prefrontal cortex of diabetic rats treated with CRPHF.
Conclusion: CRPHF has the potential of preventing depression in patients with diabetes.

Keywords: Puerarin, Crataegus, diabetes mellitus, depression, BDNF

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