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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Extracts of St. John's wort and various constituents affect beta-adrenergic binding in rat frontal cortex.

The present study was designed to get further insight into the mode of antidepressant action of extracts prepared from St. John's wort (SJW) and relevant active constituents. Down-regulation of central beta-adrenergic receptors (beta-AR's) has been widely considered a common biochemical marker of antidepressant efficacy. Although previous studies have reported a beta-AR down-regulation for SJW extracts, in vivo studies that compare the effects of SJW extracts with those of relevant active constituents on beta-AR density have not been done yet. We used quantitative radioligand receptor-binding-studies to examine in rats the effects of short-term (2 wks) and long-term (8 wks) administration of different SJW extracts and constituents on beta-AR binding in rat frontal cortex. The effects were compared to those of the standard antidepressants imipramine and fluoxetine. [125I]CYP binding to beta-AR was found to be decreased after short as well as after long-term treatment with imipramine (36%, 40%). Short-term treatment with fluoxetine decreased the number of beta-adrenergic receptors (17%) while long-term treatment with fluoxetine elicited an increase (14%) in beta-AR-binding. This effect was comparable to that of the lipophilic CO2 extract which decreased beta-AR-binding (13%) after two weeks and slightly increased the number of beta-AR's after 8 weeks (9%). Short-term treatment with the methanolic SJW extract decreased beta-AR-binding (14%), no effects for this extract were observed after 8 weeks. Treatment with hypericin led to a significant down-regulation (13%) of beta-AR's in the frontal cortex after 8-weeks, but not after 2 weeks, while hyperforin (used as trimethoxybenzoate, TMB), and hyperoside were ineffective in both treatment paradigms. Compared to the SJW extracts and single compounds the effect of imipramine on beta-AR-binding was more pronounced in both treatment paradigms.[1]


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