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Anat Cell Biol

Published online October 21, 2022


Copyright © Korean Association of ANATOMISTS.

Boophone disticha attenuates five day repeated forced swim-induced stress and adult hippocampal neurogenesis impairment in male Balb/c mice

Nkosiphendule Khuthazelani Xhakaza1,2 , Pilani Nkomozepi3 , Ejekemi Felix Mbajiorgu1

1School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Sefako Magkatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, 3Department of Human Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Correspondence to:Nkosiphendule Khuthazelani Xhakaza
Department of Human Anatomy, School of Medicine, Sefako Magkatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria 0204, South Africa
E-mail: nkosi.xhakaza@smu.ac.za

Received: June 20, 2022; Revised: August 30, 2022; Accepted: September 6, 2022

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Depression is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders and is associated with dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system and alterations in specific brain proteins. Boophone disticha (BD) is an indigenous psychoactive bulb that belongs to the Amaryllidacae family, which is widely used in Southern Africa to treat depression, with scientific evidence of potent antidepressant-like effects. The present study examined the antidepressant effects of BD and its mechanisms of action by measuring some behavioural parameters in the elevated plus maze, brain content of corticosterone, brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), and neuroblast differentiation in the hippocampus of Balb/c mice exposed to the five day repeated forced swim stress (5d-RFSS). Male Balb/c mice were subjected to the 5d-RFSS protocol to induce depressive-like behaviour (decreased swimming, increased floating, decreased open arm entry, decreased time spent in the open arms and decreased head dips in the elevated plus maze test) and treated with distilled water, fluoxetine and BD. BD treatment (10 mg/kg/p.o for 3 weeks) significantly attenuated the 5d-RFSS-induced behavioural abnormalities and the elevated serum corticosterone levels observed in stressed mice. Additionally, 5d-RFSS exposure significantly decreased the number of neuroblasts in the hippocampus and BDNF levels in the brain of Balb/c mice, while fluoxetine and BD treatment attenuated these changes. The antidepressant effects of BD were comparable to those of fluoxetine, but unlike fluoxetine, BD did not show any anxiogenic effects, suggesting better pharmacological functions. In conclusion, our study shows that BD exerted antidepressant-like effects in 5d-RFSS mice, mediated in part by normalizing brain corticosterone and BDNF levels.

Keywords: Depression, Antidepressant agents, Hippocampus, Corticosterone, Fluoxetine

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