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When postmenopausal women are under stress conditions, this exacerbates mood disorders and issues with neuroimmune systems. The porcine placenta is known to relieve menopausal depression in clinical trials, but its underlying mechanisms for depression and anti-inflammatory functions remain poorly defined. The present study was designed to examine the anti-inflammatory effects of enzymatic porcine placenta hydrolysate (EPPH) on LPS-induced levels of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), corticosterone (CORT), and pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. In addition, the neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells was evaluated to examine the effects of EPPH on neurite growth. To mimic the symptoms of women with menopause-related depression, a stressed ovariectomized (OVX) female mouse model was used to evaluate the antidepressant effects of EPPH. The female mice were randomly divided into five groups: (1) the sham-operated (Sham) group, (2) the OVX + repeated stress + saline-treated (OVX + ST) group, (3) the OVX + repeated stress + estradiol (0.2 mg/kg)-treated (positive control) group, (4) the OVX + repeated stress + EPPH (300 mg/kg)-treated (300) group, and (5) the OVX + repeated stress + EPPH (1500 mg/kg)-treated (1500) group. Female mice were OVX and repeatedly immobilization-stressed for 2 weeks (2 h/day). A tail suspension test was conducted on the 13th day, followed by the forced swimming test on the 14th day to assess the antidepressant effects of EPPH. After the behavioral tests, the levels of CORT, PGE2, and IL-1β were evaluated. In addition, c-Fos expression in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) was evaluated using immunohistochemistry. The concentrations of NO, PGE2, and IL-1β stimulated by LPS were significantly reduced via the addition of EPPH to RAW 264.7 cells. EPPH significantly promoted neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells compared to that of the controls. In the tail suspension test, the duration of immobility was reduced in mice treated with EPPH 1500 compared to the OVX + ST group. The EPPH 1500 group had significantly decreased levels of c-Fos-positive neurons in the PVN and reduced levels of CORT and IL-1β in the serum of the Sham group. These results suggested that the high dose of EPPH administration induced the antidepressant-like effect in the ovariectomized mice with repeated stress via downregulating the levels of CORT, IL-1β, and PGE2 in the serum through reducing the expression of c-Fos in the PVN regions.


This article was originally published in Current Issues in Molecular Biology, volume 46, in 2024.


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