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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28

Nigella sativa extract in the treatment of depression and serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels

1 AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran; School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 School of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, West Azarbaijan, Iran
3 Department of Physiology and Iranian medicine, School of Medicine, AJA University of Medical science, Tehran, Iran
4 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, 505 Hospital, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5 Toxin Research Center, AJA University of Medical Sciences; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
6 Associate Professor of Psychiatry, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vahid Donyavi
School of Medicine, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Fatemi St., Tehran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jrms.jrms_823_21

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Background: Here, we aimed to investigate the therapeutic effects of Nigella sativa extract on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and depression score in patients with depression. Materials and Methods: This clinical trial was performed in 2021 in the hospitals of military forces in Tehran on 52 male patients with major depressive disorder treated with sertraline. We used the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 Items (DASS-21) questionnaire to assess the patients. Serum BDNF levels were measured by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Patients were then divided into two groups receiving 1000 mg N. sativa oil extract, daily, and placebo. Both groups received sertraline for at least 3 months. DASS-21 questionnaire and serum BDNF levels were measured after 10 weeks. Results: After treatments, we observed significantly decreased DASS-21 score (−11.24 ± 5.69) in the intervention group (P < 0.001) and placebo (−2.72 ± 6.19, P = 0.032), but patients in the intervention group had significantly lower scores (50.1 ± 6.8 vs. 58.2 ± 5.6, respectively, P < 0.001). Furthermore, patients in the intervention group had significantly decreased depression score (−5.5 ± 2.47, P < 0.001) and lower scores compared to the placebo (P < 0.001) (18.6 ± 2.7 vs. 23.4 ± 2.1 in intervention and placebo, respectively). We also observed significantly increased BDNF levels in the intervention group after the treatments (6.08 ± 3.76, P < 0.001) compared to the placebo group (29.4 ± 3.6 vs. 24.9 ± 2.1, P < 0.001). Serum BDNF levels had also significant reverse correlations with DASS-21 score (r = −0.35, P = 0.011) and depression score (r = −0.45, P = 0.001). Conclusion: The use of N. sativa resulted in decreased depression score and increase in serum BDNF levels that indicate the importance and efficacy of this drug.

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