Depression is characterized by indifferent and slow thinking, leading to highly unfavorable social and economic burden. Hong Hua is a traditional Chinese medicine and has many pharmacological properties, such as anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities. However, the underlying mechanism unraveling the effect of Hong Hua on depression is still unclear. Here, depression animal model was established.
It was demonstrated that Hong Hua improved depressive behavior in rat model of depression, which increased horizontal movement, vertical movement, sucrose percent index and decreased immobility of depressed rats. Moreover, Hong Hua inhibited the activation of HPA signaling, inflammation and oxidative stress in brain of depressed rats.
Hong Hua played an opposite effect on production of chronic unpredicted mild stress (CUMS)-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-1β). CUMS increased MDA expression but decreased SOD and GSH-Px expression, which were reversed by Hong Hua treatment. Furthermore, Hong Hua exerted a suppressive role in TLR4/NF-jB signaling pathway in brain of depressed rats.
In conclusion, these findings indicted that Hong Hua can improve depressive behavior through inhibiting HPA signaling, repressing hippocampal inflammation and oxidative stress, which will provide a new therapeutic method for treating depression.