Evaluation of neuroactive effects of ethanol extract of Schisandra chinensis, Schisandrin, and Schisandrin B and determination of underlying mechanisms by zebrafish behavioral profiling


Schisandra chinensis, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been used to treat sleep disorders. Zebrafish sleep/wake behavioral profiling provides a high-throughput platform to screen chemicals, but has never been used to study extracts and components from TCM. In the present study, the ethanol extract of Schisandra chinensis and its two main lignin components, schisandrin and schisandrin B, were studied in zebrafish. We found that the ethanol extract had bidirectional improvement in rest and activity in zebrafish. Schisandrin and schisandrin B were both sedative and active components. We predicted that schisandrin was related to serotonin pathway and the enthanol extract of Schisandra chinensis was related to seoronin and domapine pathways using a database of zebrafish behaviors. These predictions were confirmed in experiments using Caenorhabditis elegans. In conclusion, zebrafish behavior profiling could be used as a high-throughput platform to screen neuroactive effects and predict molecular pathways of extracts and components from TCM.

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