Pharmacopsychiatry 2021; 54(05): 215-223
DOI: 10.1055/a-1349-3870
Original Paper

Withanone Ameliorates Stress Symptoms in Caenorhabditis Elegans by Acting through Serotonin Receptors

Janine Naß
Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
,
Thomas Efferth
Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, Institute of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
› Author Affiliations

ABSTRACT

Introduction Depression is responsible for 800 000 deaths worldwide, a number that will rise significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Affordable novel drugs with less severe side effects are urgently required. We investigated the effect of withanone (WN) from Withania somnifera on the serotonin system of wild-type and knockout Caenorhabditis elegans strains using in silico, in vitro, and in vivo methods.

Methods WN or fluoxetine (as positive control drug) was administered to wild-type (N2) and knockout C. elegans strains (AQ866, DA1814, DA2100, DA2109, and MT9772) to determine their effect on oxidative stress (Trolox, H2DCFDA, and juglone assays) on osmotic stress and heat stress and lifespan. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR was applied to investigate the effect of WN or fluoxetine on the expression of serotonin receptors (ser-1, ser-4, ser-7) and serotonin transporter (mod-5). The binding affinity of WN to serotonin receptors and transporter was analyzed in silico using AutoDock 4.2.6.

Results WN scavenged ROS in wild-type and knockout C. elegans and prolonged their lifespan. WN upregulated the expression of serotonin receptor and transporter genes. In silico analyses revealed high binding affinities of WN to Ser-1, Ser-4, Ser-7, and Mod-5.

Limitations Further studies are needed to prove whether the results from C. elegans are transferrable to mammals and human beings.

Conclusion WN ameliorated depressive-associated stress symptoms by activating the serotonin system. WN may serve as potential candidate in developing new drugs to treat depression.

Supplementary Material



Publication History

Publication Date:
06 May 2021 (online)

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