Open Access Open Badges Research

Room-temperature super-extraction system (RTSES) optimizes the anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like behavioural effects of traditional Xiao-Yao-San in mice

Shih-Hsi Yin1, Ching-Cheng Wang1, Tain-Junn Cheng2345, Chia-Yu Chang267, Kao-Chang Lin27, Wei-Chih Kan89, Hsien-Yi Wang89, Wenny Mei-Wen Kao1011, Yen-Liang Kuo11, Jian-Chyi Chen7, Shun-Lai Li7, Chia-Hui Cheng7 and Jiunn-Jye Chuu127*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Manufacturing Information and Systems, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

2 Department of Neurology, Chi Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan

3 Department of Occupational Medicine, Chi Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan

4 Department of Occupational Safety, College of Environment, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan

5 Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

6 Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan

7 Institute of Biotechnology, College of Engineering, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Tainan, Taiwan

8 Department of Nephrology, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan

9 Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan, Taiwan

10 Institute of Plant Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

11 MesoPhase Technologies Inc, Tainan, Taiwan

12 Department of Biotechnology, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, No. 1, Nantai St., Yung-Kang, Tainan, Taiwan

For all author emails, please log on.

Chinese Medicine 2012, 7:24  doi:10.1186/1749-8546-7-24

Published: 7 November 2012



Xiao-Yao-San (XYS) is a Chinese medicinal formula for treating anxiety and depression. This study aims to evaluate the use of a room-temperature super-extraction system (RTSES) to extract the major active components of XYS and enhance their psycho-pharmacological effects.


The neuroprotective roles of XYS/RTSES against reserpine-derived neurotoxicity were evaluated using a glial cell injury system (in vitro) and a depression-like C57BL/6 J mouse model (in vivo). The anxiolytic-behavioural effects were measured by the elevated plus-maze (EPM) test and the antidepressant effects were evaluated by the forced swimming test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST). Glucose tolerance and insulin resistance were assayed by ELISA. The expression of 5-HT1A receptors in the prefrontal cortex was examined by western blotting.


XYS/RTSES (300 μg/mL) diminished reserpine-induced glial cell death more effectively than either XYS (300 μg/mL) or fluoxetine (30 μM) at 24 h (P = 0.0481 and P = 0.054, respectively). Oral administration of XYS/RTSES (500 mg/kg/day) for 4 consecutive weeks significantly elevated the ratios of entries (open arms/closed arms; P = 0.0177) and shuttle activity (P = 0.00149) on the EPM test, and reduced the immobility time by 90% on the TST (P = 0.00000538) and FST (P = 0.0000053839). XYS/RTSES also improved the regulation of blood glucose (P = 0.0305) and increased the insulin sensitivity (P = 0.0093). The Western blot results indicated that the activation of cerebral 5-HT1A receptors may be involved in the mechanisms of XYS/RTSES actions.


The RTSES could provide a novel method for extracting effective anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like substances. XYS/RTSES improved the regulation of blood glucose and increased the insulin sensitivity in reserpine-induced anxiety and depression. Neuroprotection of glial cells and activation of cerebral 5-HT1A receptors were also involved.