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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2695903, 9 pages
Research Article

Saikosaponin A Alleviates Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder through Downregulation of DAT and Enhancing BDNF Expression in Spontaneous Hypertensive Rats

1The First Clinical College, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210023, China
2Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Pediatric Respiratory Disease, Institute of Pediatrics, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210023, China
3Nanjing General Hospital of Nanjing Military Command, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210002, China
4Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210023, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Han Xinmin

Received 13 September 2016; Accepted 18 December 2016; Published 15 February 2017

Academic Editor: Jeng-Ren Duann

Copyright © 2017 Sun Jichao 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.


The disturbed dopamine availability and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression are due in part to be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this study, we investigated the therapeutical effect of saikosaponin a (SSa) isolated from Bupleurum Chinese DC, against spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) model of ADHD. Methylphenidate and SSa were orally administered for 3 weeks. Activity was assessed by open-field test and Morris water maze test. Dopamine (DA) and BDNF were determined in specific brain regions. The mRNA or protein expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopamine transporter (DAT), and vesicles monoamine transporter (VMAT) was also studied. Both MPH and SSa reduced hyperactivity and improved the spatial learning memory deficit in SHRs. An increased DA concentration in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and striatum was also observed after treating with the SSa. The increased DA concentration may partially be attributed to the decreased mRNA and protein expression of DAT in PFC while SSa exhibited no significant effects on the mRNA expression of TH and VMAT in PFC of SHRs. In addition, BDNF expression in SHRs was also increased after treating with SSa or MPH. The obtained result suggested that SSa may be a potential drug for treating ADHD.