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Pharmacognosy Journal, 2013; 5(5):211-215
Original article | doi:10.1016/j.phcgj.2013.08.004

Honokiol reverses depressive-like behavior and decrease in brain BDNF levels induced by chronic corticosterone injections in mice

Authors and affiliation (s):

Sathish Pitta a,*, Bibin Baby Augustinea, Eshvendar Reddy Kasalaa, Kunjbihari Sulakhiyaa, Vijay Ravindranathb, Mangala Lahkara,b,c

aDepartment of Pharmacology & Toxicology, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER-Guwahati), Guwahati 781032, India

bDepartment of Biotechnology, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER-Guwahati), Guwahati 781032, India

cDepartment of Pharmacology, Gauhati Medical College, Guwahati 781032, India


Background: Honokiol, an active component isolated and purified from Chinese traditional herb Magnolia officinalis. It is known to have a wide range of biological activities including antidepressant-like effects which have been observed in stress-induced depression models. This study was designed to investigate the antidepressant potential of honokiol in corticosteroid induced model of depression. Method: Adult Swiss albino mice were injected with 40 mg/kg of corticosterone (CORT) chronically for 21 days. Behavioral and biochemical parameters were estimated. Moreover, since brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in antidepressant effects of many drugs, we also evaluated the effects of honokiol on BDNF in the hippocampus. Results: The results showed that the 3-week CORT injections caused the significant elevation in serum CORT levels in mice. Repeated CORT injections also caused depression-like behavior in mice, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption (P < 0.01) and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test (P < 0.001). Moreover, it was found that BDNF levels in the hippocampus were significantly decreased (P < 0.001) in CORT-treated mice. Treatment of the mice with honokiol significantly suppressed the depression-like behavior and increased brain BDNF levels (P < 0.01) in CORTtreated mice. Conclusion: These results conclude that honokiol produces an antidepressant-like effect in CORT-induced depression, which is possibly mediated by increasing BDNF expression in the hippocampus.

Key words: Honokiol, Major depression, Corticosterone, BDNF, Hippocampus.


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