Incensole acetate (IA), a constituent of Boswellia resin ('frankincense'), was previously demonstrated to exhibit an antidepressive-like effect in the Forced Swim Test (FST) in mice following single dose administration (50 mg/kg). Here, we show that acute administration of considerably lower dose (10 mg/kg) IA to selectively bred mice, showing prominent submissive behavior, exerted significant antidepressant-like effects in the FST. Furthermore, chronic administration of 1 or 5 mg/kg per day of IA for three consecutive weeks dose- and time-dependently reduced the submissiveness of the mice in the Dominant-Submissive Relationship test, developed to screen the chronic effect of antidepressants. This behavioral effect was concomitant to reduced serum corticosterone levels, dose-dependent down-regulation of corticotropin releasing factor and up-regulation of brain derived neurotrophic factor transcripts IV and VI expression in the hippocampus. These data suggest that IA modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and influences hippocampal gene expression, leading to beneficial behavioral effects supporting its potential as a novel treatment of depressive-like disorders.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology.
- Incensole acetate
- brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
- corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF)
- dominant-submissive relationship (DSR)