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Image: Understanding the neuroactive effects of five-flavor berry

(Natural News) Researchers at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China evaluated the neuroactive effects of the ethanol extract of Schisandra chinensis and its components schisandrin and schisandrin B, and determined the underlying mechanisms using zebrafish behavioral profiling. Their findings were published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines.

  • S. chinensis (five-flavor berry) is an herbal medicine used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to address sleep disorders.
  • The researchers used zebrafish, whose sleep-wake behavioral profiling provides a high-throughput platform to screen chemicals, even though it has never been used to study extracts and components from TCM.
  • The researchers evaluated the effects of the ethanol extract of S. chinensis and its two main lignin components, schisandrin and schisandrin B, in zebrafish. They found that the ethanol extract conferred bidirectional improvement in the resting behavior and activity of zebrafish. Schisandrin and schisandrin B both acted as sedative and active components.
  • Using a database of zebrafish behaviors, the researchers predicted that schisandrin was related to the serotonin pathway, while the ethanol extract of S. chinensis was related to the serotonin and dopamine pathways. They confirmed these predictions in experiments using Caenorhabditis elegans.

In conclusion, the main lignin components of S. chinensis exhibited neuroactive effects in zebrafish as shown through behavioral profiling. The researchers also concluded that this method can be used to predict the molecular pathways of TCM extracts and their components.

Journal Reference:

Wang JW, Liang FY, Ouyang XS, Li PB, Pei Z, Su WW. EVALUATION OF NEUROACTIVE EFFECTS OF ETHANOL EXTRACT OF SCHISANDRA CHINENSIS, SCHISANDRIN, AND SCHISANDRIN B AND DETERMINATION OF UNDERLYING MECHANISMS BY ZEBRAFISH BEHAVIORAL PROFILING. Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. December 2018;16(12):916–925. DOI: 10.1016/s1875-5364(18)30133-x


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