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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2010, Vol. 8 ›› Issue (11): 1075-1079.doi: 10.3736/jcim20101112

• Original Expreimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Chinese herbal medicine Xiaoyao Powder on monoamine neurotransmitters in hippocampus of rats with postpartum depression

Tao Wanga,Feng Qinb   

  1. a Department of Gynaecology, Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Wenjiang District, Chengdu 611130, Sichuan Province, China
    b Regenerative Medicine Research Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province, China
  • Received:2010-04-29 Accepted:2010-07-14 Online:2010-11-20 Published:2010-11-15
  • Contact: Feng Qin


To investigate the effects of Xiaoyao Powder, a compound traditional Chinese herbal medicine for treatment of depression, on monoamine neurotransmitters in hippocampus of rats with postpartum depression (PPD).


Ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 4 groups: control group, untreated group, fluoxetine hydrochloride group and Xiaoyao Powder group. Except for the control group, the rats in the other 3 groups were injected subcutaneously with estrogen for 23 successive days to induce the “pregnancy” state. In the next 30 successive days, rats were given test drugs respectively and the concentrations of noradrenaline (NE), dopamine (DA), 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in hippocampus were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


PPD was induced in rats of untreated group, and compared with rats of control group, the concentrations of NE, DA and 5-HT in the hippocampus significantly reduced (P<0.01), while the concentration of 5-HIAA significantly increased (P<0.01). Xiaoyao Powder treatment significantly improved the behavior indexes and levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in hippocampus (P<0.01). Xiaoyao Powder and fluoxetine hydrochloride produced similar effects in rats with PPD.


Xiaoyao Powder produces an antidepression effect in rats by regulating the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in hippocampus.

Key words: Xiaoyao Powders, Depression, Postpartum, Neurobehavioral Manifestations, Neurotransmitter agents

Table 1

Effects of Xiaoyao Powder on behavior indexes in rats with PPD ($\overline{x}$±5)"

Group n Score of horizontal activity Score of vertical activity Forced-swim test (s) Sugar consumption (g)
Control 12 55. 33±1. 32 14. 67±1.73 67. 78±2. 17 12. 46±1. 21
Untreated 12 24. 89±1. 27* * 7.89±0.78〃 147. 22±6. 00** 4. 94±0. 32* *
Fluoxetine 12 34. 33±1. 66△△ 11.67±1.00△△ 91. 31±3. 59△△ 16. 12±0. 35△△
Xiaoyao Powder 12 34. 56±1. 51△△ 11.89±1.05△△ 88. 11±4. 99△△ 13. 49±0. 50△△▲▲

Table 2

Effects of Xiaoyao Powder on levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in hippocampus of rats"

Group n 5-HT NE DA 5-HIAA
Control 10 2. 41±0. 21 8. 19±0. 24 67. 51±2. 40 3. 20±0. 10
Untreated 10 0. 96±0. 09** 4. 80±0. 11〃 44. 12±2. 14〃 5. 19±0. 18〃
Fluoxetine 10 1. 87±0. 20△△ 6. 59±0. 18△△ 54. 94±1. 56△△ 4. 29±0. 15△△
Xiaoyao Powder 10 1. 90±0. 14△△ 6.57±0. 29△△ 55. 63±1. 39△△ 3. 93±0. 13△△
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