Novel Antidepressant-Like Activity of Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester is Mediated by Enhanced Glucocorticoid Receptor Function in the Hippocampus
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014; 2014: 646039
Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is an active component of propolis that has a variety of potential pharmacological effects. Although we previously demonstrated that propolis has antidepressant-like activity, the effect of CAPE on this activity remains unknown. The present study assessed whether treatment with CAPE (5, 10, and 20 µmol/kg for 21 days) has an antidepressant-like effect in mice subjected to chronic unpredictable stress via tail suspension (TST) and forced swim (FST) tests.
CAPE administration induced behaviors consistent with an antidepressant effect, evidenced by decreased immobility in the TST and FST independent of any effect on serum corticosterone secretion. Western blots, conducted subsequent to behavioral assessment, revealed that CAPE significantly decreased glucocorticoid receptor phosphorylation at S234 (pGR(S234)), resulting in an increased pGR(S220/S234) ratio. We also observed negative correlations between pGR(S220)/(S234) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) phosphorylation, which was decreased by CAPE treatment. These findings suggest that CAPE treatment exerts an antidepressant-like effect via downregulation of p38MAPK phosphorylation, thereby contributing to enhanced GR function.