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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5850739, 14 pages
Research Article

Xiao Yao San against Corticosterone-Induced Stress Injury via Upregulating Glucocorticoid Receptor Reaction Element Transcriptional Activity

1Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, China
2Shenzhen Clinical Medical College of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Shenzhen, Guangdong 51800, China
3School of Basic Medical Science, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, China

Received 15 April 2016; Revised 28 June 2016; Accepted 4 September 2016

Academic Editor: Abir El-Alfy

Copyright © 2016 Guoping Cao 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.


Previous studies have revealed that uncontrollable stress can impair the synaptic plasticity and firing property of hippocampal neurons, which influenced various hippocampal-dependent tasks including memory, cognition, behavior, and mood. In this work, we had investigated the effects and mechanisms of the Chinese herbal medicine Xiao Yao San (XYS) against corticosterone-induced stress injury in primary hippocampal neurons (PHN) cells. We found that XYS and RU38486 could increase cell viabilities and decrease cell apoptosis by MTT, immunofluorescence, and flow cytometry assays. In addition, we observed that XYS notably inhibited the nuclear translocation of GR and upregulated the mRNA and protein expressions levels of Caveolin-1, GR, BDNF, TrkB, and FKBP4. However, XYS downregulated the FKBP51 expressions. Furthermore, the results of the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and double luciferase reporter gene detection indicated that FKBP4 promotes the transcriptional activity of GR reaction element (GRE) by binding with GR, and FKBP51 processed the opposite action. The in vivo experiment also proved the functions of XYS. These results suggested that XYS showed an efficient neuroprotection against corticosterone-induced stress injury in PHN cells by upregulating GRE transcriptional activity, which should be developed as a potential candidate for treating stress injury in the future.