Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Online ISSN : 1347-5215
Print ISSN : 0918-6158
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Effects of Icariin on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Action and Cytokine Levels in Stressed Sprague-Dawley Rats
Ying PanWei-Yun ZhangXing XiaLing-Dong Kong
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Volume 29 (2006) Issue 12 Pages 2399-2403

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Abstract

Icariin is one of the major active flavonoids constituents of Epimedium brevicornum MAXIM (Berberidaceae). Icariin and E. brevicornum have a wide range of pharmacological activities. Abnormality in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is considered to be a key neurobilogical factor in major depression, and cytokines have a close relationship with the activation of the HPA axis. In the present study, the aim was to determine whether icariin possesses an antidepressant-like activity, and to explore the effects of icariin on the HPA axis and cytokine levels in chronic mild stress (CMS) model of depression in Sprague-Dawley rats. Icariin significantly increased the sucrose intake of CMS-treated rats from week 3. It not only attenuated the CMS-induced increases in serum corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and cortisol levels, but also reversed the abnormal levels of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor-necrosis-factor alpha (TNF-α) to the normal in the stressed rats. These results suggested that icariin possessed an antidepressant-like property that was at least in part mediated by neuroendocrine and immune systems.

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© 2006 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan
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