主 办:北 京 中 医 药 大 学
ISSN 1006-2157 CN 11-3574/R

JOURNAL OF BEIJING UNIVERSITY OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE ›› 2021, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (4): 323-331.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1006-2157.2021.04.007

• Chinese Medicinal Pharmacology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Bugansan on learning and memory function of aging rats based on BDNF/TrkB mediated hippocampal synaptic plasticity*

Wang Shuo1, Li Wei1, Wang Hao1,2, Wang Jiepeng1,2, Fang Fang1,2, Wang Shaoxian1,2, Wang Jian1, Fang Chaoyi1,2#   

  1. 1 Hebei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hebei 050200, China;
    2 Hebei Key Laboratory of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine for Lung Disease Research, Hebei 050091, China
  • Received:2020-09-28 Published:2021-04-29
  • Contact: Prof. Fang Chaoyi, Doctoral Supervisor. School of Basic Medicine, Hebei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 3 Xingyuan Road, Luquan District, Shijiazhuang 050200. E-mail: hbfcy@163.com
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.81673881); Traditional Chinese Medicine Scientific Research Project of Heibei Province(No.2020136); Hebei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Provincial Universities Basic Scientific Research Operating Expenses Special Project(No.YJZ2019006); Postgraduate Innovation Support Project of Hebei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (No.XCXZZSS2020009)
    Ethical review: Ethics Committee of Hebei University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (No.DWLL2018040)

Abstract: Objective To explore the aging mechanism based on the theory of liver qi deficiency and hippocampal synaptic plasticity, and to observe the effects of Bugansan (Liver-tonifying Powder) formula on the learning and memory abilities of D-galactose induced aging rats. Methods Forty SPF male SD rats were randomly divided into blank group, model group, piracetam group and Bugansan group (n=10 in each group). Rats in the model group, piracetam group and Bugansan group were intraperitoneally injected with 400 mg/kg D-galactose to establish aging rat models, while blank control group was intraperitoneally injected with the same amount of normal saline daily for eight consecutive weeks. From the day of modeling, Bugansan group was given Bugansan decoction (14.06 g/kg), while piracetam group was given piracetam suspension (0.40 g/kg); blank control group and model group were given the same amount of distilled water (10 mL/kg) daily for 8 consecutive weeks. The body weight of the rats was measured the day before sampling; grip strength test was used to detect the grip strength of rats; Eight-arm maze and step-down test were used to evaluate the learning and memory abilities of rats; Nissl staining method was used to measure the pathological changes of hippocampal neurons while immunohistochemical staining was used to assess the expression characteristics of synaptophysin (SYN) and postsynaptic density 95 (PSD95); Real-time quantitative PCR and Western blotting were used to detect the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) genes and proteins in hippocampus. Results Compared with the blank group, body weight and grip strength of rats in model group decreased. The number of working memory error (WME), reference memory error (RME) and total memory errors (TE) were significantly increased. The platform latency was shortened; the number of hippocampal neurons was significantly reduced. The expression levels of SYN and PSD95 were significantly decreased, and the expression levels of BDNF and TrkB genes and proteins were significantly decreased (all P<0.05). Compared with the model group, the body weight and grip strength of rats in Bugansan group increased. The number of WME, RME and TE were significantly decreased. The platform latency was prolonged. The number of hippocampal neurons was significantly increased. The expression of SYN and PSD95 was increased, and the expression levels of BDNF and TrkB genes and proteins were significantly increased (all P<0.05). Conclusion Deficiency of liver qi is an important mechanism of body aging. Regulating and replenishing liver qi is an effective treatment. Bugansan can enhance synaptic plasticity in hippocampus of aging rats by up-regulating BDNF and TrkB levels, thereby improving learning and memory abilities and achieving the purpose of delaying aging.

Key words: aging, liver qi deficiency, hippocampal synaptic plasticity, BDNF/TrkB signaling pathway, learning and memory, Bugansan, rats

CLC Number: 

  • R285.5