Braz J Med Biol Res 2019; 52(7): e8434
Baicalin ameliorates chronic mild stress-induced depression-like behaviors in mice and attenuates inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress
The natural flavonoid glycoside baicalin (BA) produces a variety of pharmaceutical effects, particularly for psychiatric/neurological disorders. This study evaluated the behavioral and neuroprotective effects of BA in mice subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress, a model of depression. BA (25 and 50 mg/kg) significantly increased sucrose consumption and reduced immobility times in the tail suspension and forced swim tests, demonstrating that BA alleviated depression-like behaviors. Moreover, BA reduced the levels of inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 1β, interleukin 6, and tumor necrosis factor α, in serum and in the hippocampus. BA also abrogated increases in NMDAR/NR2B and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, and the decrease in phosphorylated ERK and reactive oxygen species production in mice subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress. These findings suggested that the antidepressive effects of BA are due to the regulation of an NMDAR/NR2B-ERK1/2-related pathway and inhibition of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. Thus, BA represents a potential candidate drug for patients suffering from depression.