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Effects of Jian-Pi-Zhi-Dong Decoction on the Expression of 5-HT and Its Receptor in a Rat Model of Tourette Syndrome and Comorbid Anxiety

Dan Wang, Hui-ling Tian, Xia Cui, Qian Wang, Fan Guo, Wen Zhang, Qi-sheng Tang

Department of Encephalopathy, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e924658

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.924658

Available online: 2020-06-04

Published: 2020-08-01

BACKGROUND: Anxiety is one of the common comorbidities of Tourette syndrome (TS). The serotonin (5-HT) system is involved in both TS and anxiety. Jian-pi-zhi-dong decoction (JPZDD) is widely used. However, the mechanism remains unknown. In this study, a rat model of TS and comorbid anxiety was used to evaluate the effect of JPZDD on 5-HT and its receptor.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: 48 rats were divided into 4 groups randomly (n=12). The model was established by empty water bottle stimulation plus iminodipropionitrile injection for 3 weeks. Then the control and model groups were gavaged with saline, while the treatment groups were gavaged with fluoxetine hydrochloride (Flx) or JPZDD. Body weights were measured, and behavioral tests were evaluated with stereotypy and elevated plus maze. The morphologic characters were observed by hematoxylin and eosin staining. The content of 5-HT was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and high-performance liquid chromatography. The expression of 5-HT2C receptor was detected by western blot and quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: The stereotypy score was lower and the time spent in the open arm was longer in the JPZDD group compared with the model group. After the treatment of Flx or JPZDD, the structure of neurons became gradually normal and the cells were arranged neatly. The contents of 5-HT in the treatment groups were higher compared with the model group in the striatum. The expression of 5-HT2C mRNA in the striatum of JPZDD and Flx groups decreased compared with the model group, and the JPZDD group was lower than the Flx group.
CONCLUSIONS: JPZDD alleviated both tic and anxiety symptoms and the mechanism may be via reducing the expression of 5-HT2C mRNA in the striatum, increasing the concentration of 5-HT, and enhancing the activity of the 5-HT system, which in turn exerts neuro-inhibition.

Keywords: Anxiety, Comorbidity, Neural Pathways, Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2C, Tourette Syndrome