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DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification that mediates gene silencing, has been shown to play a role in the neurobiology of major depression. Studies suggested that terpenes inhibit DNA methylation and increase gene expression. The present study investigated the involvement of DNA methylation in the antidepressant-like activity of diene valepotriates, non-glicosilated carbocyclic iridoids that comprise a family of terpenes obtained from Valeriana glechomifolia. The antidepressant-like effect of diene valepotriates acute administration (5 mg/kg, p.o.) in mice submitted to the forced swimming test was followed by a decrease in global DNA methylation in animals' hippocampus (but not in the pre-frontal cortex). Mice pretreatment with anysomicin (a protein synthesis inhibitor) and K252a (an inhibitor of Trk receptors) attenuated diene valepotriates-induced antidepressant-like effect in the forced swimming test. Diene valepotriates elicited an upregulation in the TrkB receptor and a tendency to increase BDNF levels in mice hippocampus. These results demonstrate that DNA methylation could be an in vivo molecular target of diene valepotriates. The diene valepotriates-triggered reduction in hippocampal DNA methylation is accompanied by increased protein synthesis, which is involved in its antidepressant-like activity. Furthermore, BDNF-mediated TrkB signaling may contribute for diene valepotriates antidepressant-like effect.


Liz G Müller, Caroline Biojone, Amanda J Sales, Andresa H Betti, Vivian Herzfeldt, Sâmia R L Joca, Stela M K Rates. A valepotriate-enriched fraction from Valeriana glechomifolia decreases DNA methylation and up-regulate TrkB receptors in the hippocampus of mice. Behavioural pharmacology. 2020 Jun;31(4):333-342

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PMID: 31860564

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