Bupleurum falcatum prevents depression and anxiety-like behaviors in rats exposed to repeated restraint stress

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Mar;22(3):422-30. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1110.10077.


Previous studies have demonstrated that repeated restraint stress in rodents produces increases in depression and anxietylike behaviors and alters the expression of corticotrophinreleasing factor (CRF) in the hypothalamus. The current study focused on the impact of Bupleurum falcatum (BF) extract administration on repeated restraint stress-induced behavioral responses using the forced swimming test (FST) and elevated plus maze (EPM) test. Immunohistochemical examinations of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression in rat brain were also conducted. Male rats received daily doses of 20, 50, or 100 mg/kg (i.p.) BF extract for 15 days, 30 min prior to restraint stress (4 h/day). Hypothalamicpituitary- adrenal axis activation in response to repeated restraint stress was confirmed base on serum corticosterone levels and CRF expression in the hypothalamus. Animals that were pre-treated with BF extract displayed significantly reduced immobility in the FST and increased open-arm exploration in the EPM test in comparison with controls. BF also blocked the increase in TH expression in the locus coeruleus of treated rats that experienced restraint stress. Together, these results demonstrate that BF extract administration prior to restraint stress significantly reduces depression and anxiety-like behaviors, possibly through central adrenergic mechanisms, and they suggest a role for BF extract in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Bupleurum / chemistry*
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / enzymology
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Restraint, Physical / adverse effects
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / metabolism


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Corticosterone