Effect of Valeriana fauriei extract on the offspring of adult rats exposed to prenatal stress

Int J Mol Med. 2016 Jul;38(1):251-8. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2016.2589. Epub 2016 May 16.


Exposing a pregnant female to stress is a risk factor for the development of psychiatric disorders in the offspring. In the present study, we examined the effects of an extract of Valeriana fauriei (VF) root (100 mg/kg/day, administered on postnatal days 35-56) on behavioral patterns as well as protein expression in the prefrontal cortex of the offspring of prenatally-stressed rats. Modified behavioral tests, including the forced swim test, the open field test, a social interaction test and the prepulse inhibition test were performed and many of the parameters were found to decrease in the offspring of the rats exposed to PNS compared with the offspring of the non-stressed rats. Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses of the prefrontal cortex revealed that the downregulation of several neurodevelopmental proteins in the offspring of rats dams exposed to PNS was reversed after treatment with VF extract. These findings demonstrate that the downregulation of several proteins in the prefrontal cortex of the offspring of prenatally‑stressed rats may be associated with subsequent behavioral changes, and that these phenomena recovered following VF treatment. Our results suggest that VF decreases the incidence of prenatal stress related-psychiatric disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / blood
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / drug therapy*
  • Prepulse Inhibition / drug effects
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stress, Psychological / blood
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy*
  • Swimming
  • Valerian / chemistry*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Corticosterone