Flavonoids from Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) restore CUMS-induced depressive disorder and regulate the gut microbiota in mice†
Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.), which is enriched with flavonoids, including isorhamnetin, quercetin and kaempferol, is a representative example of “medicine food homology” targeting several diseases. Major depressive disorders seriously threaten mental health worldwide and may even lead to death. Chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS)-induced depressive-like symptoms in mice are usually considered as the highest similarity to the situation in humans. Herein, we determined the potential functions of the flavonoid-enriched fraction from Seabuckthorn, which was named SBF, in treating major depressive disorder in mice. In the CUMS-induced mouse model, the intake of SBF reversed their depressive behaviors and relieved the CUMS-disturbed levels of neurotrophins, neurotransmitters, stress-related hormones, and inflammation-related cytokines. Additionally, the treatment of depressive mice with SBF showed ability to regulate the gut microbiota, especially in decreasing the abundance of Lactobacillaceae, while increasing the abundance of Lachnospiraceae at the family level. The results suggest the beneficial effects of Seabuckthorn flavonoids in functioning as a health food supplement to treat major depressive disorders.