Ginsenoside Rb3 exerts antidepressant-like effects in several animal models

Jihong Cui, Lingxi Jiang, Hui Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Total ginsenosides have been shown to have therapeutic actions as antidepressants. We report a major active ingredient of total ginsenosides, the ginsenoside Rb3 (Rb3), which may have antidepressant-like effects. Using the forced swim test, tail suspension test, and learned helplessness procedure, we found that Rb3 had significant anti-immobility effects in mice in the forced swim and tail suspension tests and reduced the number of escape failures in the learned helplessness procedure. In a reserpine-induced syndrome model, Rb3 attenuated hypothermia, palpebral ptosis, and akinesia. In the chronic mild stress model, chronic Rb3 administration reversed the decrease in locomotor activity, novelty-suppressed feeding, and sucrose preference. Furthermore, neurochemical tests were performed to support our hypothesis that biochemical variations (i.e. brain-derived neurotrophic factor and the monoamine neurotransmitters 5-hydroxytryptamine, dopamine, and norepinephrine) are involved in Rb3's antidepressant-like effects. Finally, we found, using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, that the action potential transmission in neurons within the somatosensory cortex was excited by Rb3 perfusion and blocked with Panax notoginseng total saponins extracted from leaves. This study provides evidence for the mechanism of action of the antidepressant-like effects of Rb3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-713
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal models
  • chronic mild stress
  • depression
  • ginsenoside Rb3
  • neurotransmitters
  • psychopharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ginsenoside Rb3 exerts antidepressant-like effects in several animal models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this