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Siwei Jianghuang Decoction Powder (SWJH) documented originally in the Four Medical Tantras-Blue Glaze exhibited beneficial effects on diabetic nephropathy (DN) via combined synergistically action of multiple formula components including Curcumae longae Rhizoma, Berberidis dictyophyllae Cortex, Phyllanthi Fructus and Tribuli Fructus. This study investigated the effects of SWJH on DN in db/db mice and possible underlying mechanisms. The ten weeks old db/db mice treated with SWJH by intra-gastric administration once a day for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, body weight, water and food intake of mice were recorded. The level of fasting blood glucose (FBG) was measured. Serum creatinine (Scr), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), urine microalbumin (UMAlb), serum uric acid (UA) and urinary albumin excretion (UAE) were detected. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed to test serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis were used to test mRNA and protein expression of hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), VEGF and TGF-β1 in kidney tissue. SWJH treatment significantly reduced the levels of FBG, Scr, BUN, UMAlb, UA and UAE and retarded renal fibrosis. SWJH treatment further significantly reduced serum TGF-β1 level and downregulated the expression of HIF-1α, VEGF and TGF-β1 at both mRNA and protein levels. Principal component analysis and partial least squares regression and hierarchical cluster analysis demonstrated that SWJH treatment significantly ameliorated renal damage in DN mice. These consequences suggested that SWJH formulations were effective in the treatment of DN through regulating the HIF-1α, VEGF and TGF-β1 overexpression.

Jikan Mingmu Drops (JMD), a traditional Tibetan medicine containing six herbs, has been used to treat dry eye syndrome (DES) in individuals with diabetes mellitus. However, the activity of JMD ameliorates DES with diabetes mellitus has not been previously examined. The aim of the study is to investigate the molecular mechanism of JMD on db/db mice. The main chemical constituents of JMD were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. DES was then induced in db/db mice by applying 0.2% benzalkonium chloride to the ocular surface for 7 days. Eye drops containing JMD (0.25, 0.5, or 1 g/mL) or vehicle subsequently were administered three times daily for another 7 days, and the therapeutic effects were evaluated by phenol red thread tear and sodium fluorescein tests. Conjunctival specimens were subjected to hematoxylin and eosin staining and periodic acid-Schiff staining to examine pathological changes and number of goblet cells. ELISA was performed to assess the levels of various inflammatory cytokines. JMD contains hydroxysafflor yellow A, magnoflorine, jatrorrhizine hydrochloride, palmatine hydrochloride, berberine hydrochloride, gallic acid, ellagic acid, tauroursodeoxycholic acid, camphor, isoborneol, borneol, trans-cinnamic acid, and muscone. JMD treatment significantly increased the tear volume, decreased the corneal fluorescein staining score, restored the morphology and structure of conjunctival epithelial cells, and markedly downregulated the levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-17α, IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, and vascular endothelial growth factor in the conjunctiva. Further data showed that these protective effects were accompanied by inhibition of inflammation in a dose-dependent manner. Amelioration of DES in db/db mice with diabetes mellitus by treatment with Tibetan medicine formula JMD maybe related to its anti-inflammatory effects.

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Rhodiola crenulata, a traditional Tibetan medicine, has shown promise in the treatment of hypobaric hypoxia (HH)-induced brain injury. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This study investigated the protective effects of R. crenulata aqueous extract (RCAE) on HH-induced brain injury in rats.MATERIALS AND METHODS: An animal model of high-altitude hypoxic brain injury was established in SD rats using an animal decompression chamber for 24 h. Serum and hippocampus levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were then determined using commercial biochemical kits. Neuron morphology and vitality were also evaluated using H&E and Nissl staining, and TUNEL staining was used to examine apoptosis. Gene and protein expression of HIF-1α, microRNA 210, ISCU1/2, COX10, Apaf-1, cleaved Caspase-3, Caspase-3, Bax, Bcl-2, and Cyto-c were determined by western blot, immunohistochemical and qRT-PCR analysis. RESULTS: RCAE administration attenuated HH-induced brain injury as evidenced by decreased levels of MDA, LDH, and GSSG, increased GSH and SOD, improvements in hippocampus histopathological changes, increased cell vitality and ATP level, and reduced apoptotic cell numbers. RCAE treatment also enhanced HIF-1α, ISCU1/2, COX10, and Bcl-2 protein expression, while dramatically inhibiting expression of Apaf-1, Bax, Cyto-c, and cleaved Caspase-3. Treatment also increased gene levels of HIF-1α, microRNA 210, ISCU1/2, and COX10, and decreased Caspase-3 gene production. CONCLUSIONS: RCAE attenuated HH-induced brain injury by regulating apoptosis and mitochondrial energy metabolism via the HIF-1α/microRNA 210/ISCU1/2 (COX10) signaling pathway.