Antidepressant effect of Shudihuang on mice exposed to unpredictable chronic mild stress

J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 May 4;123(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.02.029. Epub 2009 Mar 4.


Aim of the study: Depression is a severe mood disorder. It was treated with Shudihuang, the steamed roots of Rehmannia glutinota Libosch. (SRG), in traditional Chinese medicine. The present paper was designed to verify its antidepressant effect.

Materials and methods: A mouse model of depression was established though unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS). Low and high doses of SRG were administered orally. Fur state, body and organ weight, and gastric ulcers were examined. Locomotion was assayed in open field test. Liver antioxidant indexes were measured spectrophotometrically.

Results: Fur state, body and organ weight were found to be insensitive to UCMS. The locomotion reduced by UCMS was restored by low dose of SRG (2.5 g/kg BW) but not by high dose (5 g/kg BW). UCMS resulted in aggravated gastric ulceration, elevated liver malondialdehyde, together with reduced total antioxidant capability, glutathione content, and superoxide dismutase and catalase activities. The alterations were improved by SRG in a dose-dependent manner. The differences in the activity of glutathione peroxidase were statistically nonsignificant among groups. Clomipramine the positive drug was similar to SRG especially in antioxidation.

Conclusion: SRG is of therapeutic value for depression-like disorders, and antioxidation may be one of the mechanisms underlying its antidepressant action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents*
  • Body Weight
  • Chronic Disease
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Organ Size
  • Plant Roots*
  • Rehmannia*
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*


  • Antidepressive Agents