Chrysin is a flavonoid which is found in bee propolis, honey and various plants. Antidepressant-like effect of chrysin in chronically stressed mice was previously demonstrated by our group. Conversely, neurochemical factors associated with this effect require further investigations. Thus, we investigated the possible involvement of pro-inflammatory cytokines, kynurenine pathway (KP), 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) metabolism and caspases activities in the effect of chrysin in mice exposed to unpredictable chronic stress (UCS). UCS applied for 28 days induced a depressive-like behavior, characterized by decrease in the time of grooming in the splash test and by increase in the immobility time in the tail suspension test. Oral treatment with chrysin (5 or 20mg/kg, 28 days), similarly to fluoxetine (10mg/kg, positive control), culminated in the prevention of these alterations. UCS elevated plasma levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone and adrenocorticotropic hormone, as well the tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, interleukin-6 and kynurenine levels in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus (HP). UCS induced the decrease in the 5-HT levels in the HP and the increase in the indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase, caspase 3 and 9 activities in the PFC and HP. Treatment with chrysin, similarly to fluoxetine, promoted the attenuation of these alterations occasioned by UCS. These results corroborated with the antidepressant potential of chrysin in the treatment of psychiatric diseases. Furthermore, this work indicated the association of pro-inflammatory cytokines synthesis, KP, 5-HT metabolism and caspases activities with the action exercised by chrysin in mice exposed to UCS.
Keywords: Antidepressant-like; Chronic stress; Depression; Flavonoid.
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