Fucosterol, a sterol extracted fromSargassum fusiforme, shows antidepressant and anticonvulsant effects

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Abstract

We previously showed that extracts of Sargassum fusiforme significantly reduce immobility time in the forced swim test and tail suspension test, suggesting that these extracts possess antidepressant-like effects. Here, fucosterol extracted from S. fusiforme was evaluated for antidepressant and anticonvulsant activities in mice. Fucosterol (10, 20, 30 and 40 mg/kg) significantly shortened immobility time in the forced swim test and tail suspension test for30 min after treatment but had no effect on locomotor activity in the open field test. Fucosterol significantly increased serotonin, norepinephrine and the metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in mouse brain, suggesting that the effects of fucosterol may be mediated through these neurotransmitters. As assessed using maximal electroshock, fucosterol (20, 40, 100 mg/kg) possessed anticonvulsant activity, whereas rotarod toxicity test results indicated that fucosterol did not induce neurotoxicity at the same dose levels in mice. Thus, fucosterol may be a useful antidepressant adjunct candidate for treating depression in patients with epilepsy. A significant increase in hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels was found in the fucosterol 20 mg/kg group (P<0.05). Our findings suggested that fucosterol may possess an antidepressant-like effect, which may be mediated by increasing central BDNF levels.

Graphical abstract

Fucosterol, extracted from S. fusiforme significantly shortened immobility time in the forced swim test and tail suspension test 30 min after treatment but had no effect on locomotor activity in the open field test. Fucosterol significantly increased serotonin, norepinephrine and the metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, and fucosterol may possess an antidepressant-like effect, which may be mediated by increasing central BDNF levels. Fucosterol possessed anticonvulsant activity in maximal electroshock test. Thus, fucosterol may be a useful antidepressant adjunct candidate for treating depression in patients with epilepsy.

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