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Piperlongumine produces antidepressant-like effects in rats exposed to chronic unpredictable stress

Zhang, Leia; Liu, Chenb; Yuan, Meia; Huang, Chunlana; Chen, Lina; Su, Tinga; Liao, Zigena; Gan, Lua

doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000498
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Piperlongumine, an alkaloid compound extracted from Peper longum L, has been reported to produce neuroprotective effects in the brain and exert various pharmacological activities such as antitumor, antiangiogenic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the antidepressant-like effects and the possible mechanism of action of piperlongumine in a chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) model. We found that, with venlafaxine as a positive control, orally administered piperlongumine (12.5 and 25 mg/kg) for 7 days, not a single dose, significantly reduced immobility time in the forced swimming test, but did not alter locomotor activity in the open field test, indicating that piperlongumine has antidepressant-like effects without nonspecific motor changes. Then, using the CUS model of depression, piperlongumine was administrated orally for 4 weeks, followed by sucrose preference and forced swimming tests to evaluate the depressive-like behaviors. We found that piperlongumine reversed both the decreased sucrose preference and increased immobility time in rats exposed to CUS. In addition, piperlongumine also reversed the increase in proinflammatory cytokine levels in the hippocampus of rats in the CUS model. Altogether, the present study demonstrated that piperlongumine exhibits the antidepressant-like effects in rats, which may be mediated by the inhibition of the neuronal inflammation in the hippocampus.

aDepartments of Neurology

bUltrasound, Second Affiliated Hospital, University of South China, Hengyang, Hunan, China

Received 20 March 2019 Accepted as revised 15 May 2019

Correspondence to Lu Gan, MD, Department of Neurology, Second Affiliated Hospital, University of South China, No.35, JieFang Road, Hengyang, Hunan 421001, China, E-mail: ganlu125@sina.com

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