News Release

Morinda officinalis oligosaccharides increase serotonin in the brain and ameliorate depression

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Compuscript Ltd

Announcing a new article publication from Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. Morinda officinalis oligosaccharides (MOO) is an oral drug approved in China for the treatment of depression in China. The authors of this article demonstrate that oral MOO acts on tryptophan → 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) → serotonin (5-HT) metabolic pathway in the gut microbiota. MOO increases tryptophan hydroxylase levels in the gut microbiota which accelerates 5-HTP production from tryptophan; meanwhile, MOO inhibits 5-hydroxytryptophan decarboxylase activity, thus reducing 5-HT generation, and accumulated 5-HTP. The raised 5-HTP from the gut microbiota is absorbed to the blood, and then passed across the blood–brain barrier to improve 5-HT levels in the brain. Additionally, pentasaccharide, as one of the main components in MOO, exerts the significant anti-depressant effect through a mechanism identical to that of MOO.

This study reveals that MOO can alleviate depression via increasing 5-HTP in the gut microbiota.

Article reference: Zheng-Wei Zhang, Chun-Sheng Gao, Heng Zhang, Jian Yang, Ya-Ping Wang, Li-Bin Pan, Hang Yu, Chi-Yu He, Hai-Bin Luo, Zhen-Xiong Zhao, Xin-Bo Zhou, Yu-Li Wang, Jie Fu, Pei Han, Yu-Hui Dong, Gang Wang, Song Li, Yan Wang, Jian-Dong Jiang, Wu Zhong, Morinda officinalis oligosaccharides increase serotonin in the brain and ameliorate depression via promoting 5-hydroxytryptophan production in the gut microbiota, Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, Volume 12, Issue 8, 2022, Pages 3298-3312, ISSN 2211-3835,

Keywords: Depression; Morinda officinalis oligosaccharides; Gut microbiota; Tryptophan hydroxylase; 5-Hydroxytryptophan decarboxylase; 5-Hydroxytryptophan; Serotonin; Drug metabolism

Graphical Abstract: available at

Up-regulating gut microbiota tryptophan hydroxylase levels and down-regulating 5-hydroxytryptophan decarboxylase activity is the molecular mechanism of action of the anti-depressant drug Morinda officinalis oligosaccharides.

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The Journal of the Institute of Materia Medica, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association.

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CiteScore: 15.9

Impact Factor: 14.903

JIF without self-citation: 13.888


ISSN 2211-3835

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