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The antidepressant-like effects of sinomenine in mice: a behavioral and neurobiological characterization

Li, Xiuqina; Liu, Chaob; Jiang, Boc; Chen, Kaia; Li, Wenjuana; Wang, Hongzea

doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000350

Sinomenine is a bioactive alkaloid extracted from Sinomenium acutum. Here, we investigated the antidepressant effects of sinomenine in mice. The antidepressant actions of sinomenine were first examined in the forced-swim test and the tail-suspension test, and then assessed in the chronic social defeat stress (CSDS) model of depression. Changes in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling pathway after CSDS and sinomenine treatment were also investigated. A tryptophan hydroxylase inhibitor and a BDNF signaling inhibitor were also used to determine the pharmacological mechanisms of sinomenine. It was found that sinomenine induced antidepressant-like effects in the forced-swim test and tail-suspension test without affecting the locomotor activity of mice. Sinomenine also prevented the CSDS-induced depressive-like symptoms. Moreover, sinomenine fully restored the CSDS-induced decrease in the hippocampal BDNF signaling pathway, whereas a BDNF signaling inhibitor, but not a tryptophan hydroxylase inhibitor, blocked the antidepressant effects of sinomenine. In conclusion, sinomenine exerts antidepressant effects in mice by promoting the hippocampal BDNF signaling pathway.

aDepartment of Pharmacy, Taizhou People’s Hospital, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Medical School of Nantong University

bYangtze River Pharmaceutical Group, Taizhou

cDepartment of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China

Correspondence to Hongze Wang, MD, Department of Pharmacy, Taizhou People’s Hospital, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Medical School of Nantong University, No. 210 Yingchun Road, Taizhou 225300, Jiangsu Province, China E-mail:

Received June 17, 2017

Accepted September 13, 2017

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