Carbon Dots Derived from Os Draconis and Their Anxiolytic Effect
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BACKGROUND: At present, people are susceptible to developing depression and anxiety disorders in response to stress. However, there is no specific medicine for anxiety. Os Draconis (OD, named "Long gu" in Chinese) are fossilized bones that have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat neurological diseases for thousands of years. Thus, we conducted this study to determine the biological basis for the anxiolytic effect of OD. METHODS: In this study, novel carbon dots (OD-CDs) from OD decoctions were discovered and separated. OD-CDs were anatomized using nanomaterials characterization methods to characterize the morphological structure, optical properties, and functional group properties. Four behavioural tests were conducted to observe the behavioural activities of mice, including the open field test (OFT), light/dark box test (LDT), elevated plus maze test (EPMT), and novelty-suppressed feeding test (NSFT), to determine its anxiolytic effects. Moreover, we assessed the possible mechanisms of the OD-CDs by detecting hormones associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. RESULTS: OD-CDs were spherical and monodispersed with a narrow size distribution between 1 and 5 nm and had a yield of 3.67%. OD-CDs increased the activity time of mice in the central zone in the OFT. The mice in the experimental group showed more frequent activity in the light compartment and the open arms, in LDT and EPMT, respectively. In addition, OD-CDs shortened the feeding latency in the NSFT. Furthermore, the results after OD-CDs intervention showed a significant increase in serum serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE). In addition, the concentrations of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ATCH), and corticosterone (CORT) were decreased. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate a definite anxiolytic effect of OD-CDs and reveal the possible mechanism of action of OD-CDs' anxiolytic effect, which supports the research of OD for neurological disorders and a promising new trend of therapeutic approach and drug development.
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