Aims: The present study was performed in order to find out the anti-depression effect of
Erxian Decoction in perimenopausal mice.
Background: Erxian Decoction (EXD) has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of perimenopausal
syndrome, but it has not been researched on perimenopausal depression.
Objective: The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of extraction of Erxian Decoction on perimenopausal
Methods: In this study, female ICR mice were randomly divided into 6 groups: Low, medium and
high dose of EXD groups (0.5, 1.5, and 4.5 g/kg), soy isoflavones group (250 mg/kg) and Sham
group. The mice in the Sham group received sham surgery (within ovaries), and the others were excised
with bilateral ovaries and exerted by 28-day chronic mild unpredictable stimulation for the
establishment of a perimenopausal depression model.
Results: Behavioral tests showed that EXD could relieve depression symptoms and improve spatial
memory in mice. Western blotting showed that EXD significantly up-regulated the expression
of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and Bcl-2 in hippocampus and estrogen receptors
(ERs) in the uterus and adrenals, protecting hippocampal tissue and antagonizing the symptoms of
estrogen deficiency in mice, which was further proved within a uterine morphology test. In addition,
EXD reduced the serum levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and interleukin-
Conclusion: These results indicated that EXD can regulate hormone secretion and recover hippocampal
damage in perimenopausal depressed mice. Besides, it can antagonize the symptoms of
ovarian hormone deficiency as well as relieve perimenopausal syndrome.