Efficacy of Cycloastragenol for Treatment of Major Depression

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Introduction

Cycloastragenol is a versatile compound that acts as an antioxidant, used in anti-aging, to protect from cancer, diabetes, etc. Amongst these, one of its primary functions is reducing depression. 

What is Cycloastragenol?

Cycloastragenol, commonly abbreviated as CAG, is a natural triterpenoid saponin compound that is extracted from the roots of the Astragalus membranaceus herb. This herb has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and is still used in various herbal medicines. It was first identified during the screening of the extracts of Astragalus membranaceus for active ingredients with anti-aging properties.

It is also called Cyclogalegigenin and Astramembrangenin. Its chemical formula is C30 H50 O5, and its molecular weight is 490.72 atomic mass units (amu). Studies have shown that Cycloastragenol is a telomere elongator, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative agent.

Relation between Cycloastragenol and Astragaloside IV

The astragalus plant from which cycloastragenol is extracted is also used to extract another compound, namely Astragaloside IV, which is the primary active ingredient in the corresponding herb. However, it occurs in lower quantities in the roots, and a high level of purification is required to extract both Cycloastragenol and Astragaloside IV. These 2 have similar chemical structures, but Cycloastragenol is relatively light and bioavailable.

In addition, Cycloastragenol is an aglycone of astragaloside IV which is the active ingredient in TA-65.

Related Experiment

According to research published in the Neurosignals Journal, CAG was given orally to mice for seven days. It was observed that their depression-like behavior was lessened as CAG stimulated telomerase activity in rat neuronal cells and induced CREB activation that was followed by the expression of tert and bcl2.

Similarly, it raised telomerase activity in human neonatal keratinocytes, apart from inducing CREB.

Role as a Potent Telomerase Activator

Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. They are the protective caps at the end of the chromosomes and are surrounded by a specific set of proteins. Their principal role is to shield chromosomes from fusion and degradation.

Whereas telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein complex. It consists of catalytic reverse transcriptase enzymes named telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and RNA component (TERC). The TERC lengthens telomeres, and decreases in size with replication.

Implications in treating Major Depression

It has been noted in people with psychiatric and cognitive disorders that Chronic stress or Long-term exposure to depression increases the shortening or degradation of telomeres. Moreover, the above-discussed and many other experiments have shown that it may have a therapeutic role in treating major depression.

Conclusion

To sum up, Cycloastragenol induces telomerase in several brain regions. Thus, it indicates that it is effective in treating major depression and other pathologies and brain injuries.

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