Bilobalide alleviates depression-like behavior and cognitive deficit induced by chronic unpredictable mild stress in mice

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Bilobalide (BB), a unique constituent of Ginkgo biloba, has powerful neuroprotection and stress-alleviating properties. However, whether BB exerts a positive effect on depression and cognitive deficit induced by chronic stress is not known. The present study was designed to investigate the influence of BB on depression and cognitive impairments induced by chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) in mice. During daily exposure to stressors for 5 consecutive weeks, mice were administered BB at the doses of 0, 3, or 6 mg/kg/day intraperitoneally. We replicated the finding that CUMS induced depression-like behavior and cognitive deficits as the CUMS+vehicle (VEH) group showed a significant increase in immobility in the tail suspension test, a decrease in the discrimination index of the novel object recognition task, and increased latency to platform and decreased number of platform crossings in the Morris water maze compared with the control+VEH group. Chronic administration of BB effectively reversed these alterations. In addition, the CUMS+VEH group showed significantly higher levels of baseline serum corticosterone than those of the control+VEH group and BB dose-dependently inhibited this effect. Our results suggest that BB may be useful for inhibition of depression-like behavior and cognitive deficits, and this protective effect was possibly exerted partly through an action on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis.

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