Antidepressant-like effects of Perilla frutescens seed oil during a forced swimming test
Unipolar depressive disorder may become one of the major leading causes of disease burden by 2030 according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Thus, the discovery of antidepressive foods is attractive and could have considerable impacts worldwide. We investigated the antidepressant-like effects of Perilla frutescens seed oil on adult male rats subjected to a forced swimming test (FST). Forty Sprague-Dawley rats were housed and fed various diets, including soybean oil-rich, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)-rich, and P. frutescens seed oil-rich diets for 6 weeks. After the dietary intervention, animals were tested using an FST and were sacrificed after the test. We analyzed the fatty acid profiles of red blood cells (RBCs) and the brain prefrontal cortex (PFC). Levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), serotonin, and dopamine in the PFC were also determined. After the FST, the imipramine, EPA-rich, and P. frutescens seed oil-rich groups showed significant shorter immobility time and longer struggling time than the control group (p < 0.05). Levels of BDNF in the P. frutescens seed oil-rich group and levels of serotonin in the EPA-rich group were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than those of the control group. Moreover, the BDNF concentration in the PFC was significantly positively correlated with the struggling time. However, there were no significant differences in dopamine levels between the intervention groups and the control group. In conclusion, a P. frutescens seed oil-rich diet exhibited antidepressant-like properties through modulation of fatty acid profiles and BDNF expression in the brain during an FST.