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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 506735, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/506735
Research Article

Ginseng Total Saponins Reverse Corticosterone-Induced Changes in Depression-Like Behavior and Hippocampal Plasticity-Related Proteins by Interfering with GSK-3β-CREB Signaling Pathway

1Basic Medical College, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, China
2Laboratory of Pathological Sciences, Basic Medical College, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, China
3Key Laboratory of Brain Research, Basic Medical College, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, China

Received 28 September 2013; Revised 30 November 2013; Accepted 5 December 2013; Published 9 January 2014

Academic Editor: Khalid Rahman

Copyright © 2014 Lin Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the antidepressant mechanisms of ginseng total saponins (GTS) in the corticosterone-induced mouse depression model. In Experiment 1, GTS (50, 25, and 12.5 mg kg−1 d−1, intragastrically) were given for 3 weeks. In Experiment 2, the same doses of GTS were administrated after each corticosterone (20 mg kg−1 d−1, subcutaneously) injection for 22 days. In both experiments, mice underwent a forced swimming test and a tail suspension test on day 20 and day 21, respectively, and were sacrificed on day 22. Results of Experiment 1 revealed that GTS (50 and 25 mg kg−1 d−1) exhibited antidepressant activity and not statistically altered hippocampal protein levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurofilament light chain (NF-L). Results of Experiment 2 showed that GTS (50 and 25 mg kg−1 d−1) ameliorated depression-like behavior without normalizing hypercortisolism. The GTS treatments reversed the corticosterone-induced changes in mRNA levels of BDNF and NF-L, and protein levels of BDNF NF-L, phosphor-cAMP response element-binding protein (Ser133), and phosphor-glycogen synthase kinase-3β (Ser9) in the hippocampus. These findings imply that the effect of GTS on corticosterone-induced depression-like behavior may be mediated partly through interfering with hippocampal GSK-3β-CREB signaling pathway and reversing decrease of some plasticity-related proteins.