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In order to reveal the chemical substance basis of pharmacodynamic effects of Zuotai, energy dispersive spectrometry of X-ray (EDX), X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), synchrotron radiation X-ray absorption fine structure (SR-XAFS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and atomic force microscope (AFM) were used to analyze the elements, the chemical valence and local structure of mercury, and the chemical phase composition and micro-morphology of Zuotai. EDX and XRF analysis shows that the main elements in Zuotai are Hg and S, with some other minor elements, such as 0, Fe, Al, Cu, K, Ag, Ca, Mg etc. SR-XAFS analysis shows that: the oxidation state of mercury in Zuotai is divalence, its neighbor atoms are S, and its coordination number is four. XRD assay found that β-HgS (cubic, F-43m 216) and S8 (orthorhombic, Fddd 70) are the main phase compositions in Zuotai. Besides, it also has a small amount of C (hexagonal, P63/mmc 194), Fel.05 S0.95 (hexagonal, P63/mmc 194), Cu6S6 (hexagonal, P63/mmc 194), Cu1.8 S (cubic, F-43m 216) and so on. And it was found that the crystallinity of Zuotai is about 59%, and the amorphous morphology substance in it is about 41%. SEM and AFM detection suggests that Zuotai is a kind of ancient micro-nano drug, and its particle size is mainly in the range of 100-600 nm, even less than 100 nm, which commonly further aggregate into several to 30 µm loose amorphous particles. In summary, the present study elucidated physicochemical characterization(elements composition, coordination information of mercury, phase composition and micro-morphology) of Zuotai, and it will play a positive role in promoting the interpretation of this mysterious drug.;

OBJECTIVE: To study the chemical constituents of Arenaria kansuensis.METHOD: Column chromatographic techniques were applied to isolated constituents. A combination of physico-chemical properties and spectroscopic analysis were used to identify structures of constituents. RESULT: Five compounds were obtained and elucidated as tricin (1), tricin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (2), tricin 4'-O-beta-guaiacylglyceryl ether (3), isoscoparin (4) and isovitexin (5). CONCLUSION: Compound 2, 3 and 5 were isolated from A. kansuensis for the first time, compound 3 was obtained from the family Caryophyllaceae for the first time.

Context: Tsothel, a traditional Tibetan medicine, is regarded as 'the king of essences'. Nevertheless, tsothel has aroused serious concern regarding its biosafety because its main component is HgS. Unfortunately, toxicological studies on tsothel are scarce. Objective: As inorganic mercury has high affinity for the kidney, the present investigation was designed to determine the potential nephrotoxicity and mechanism of tsothel. Materials and methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were orally administered different doses of tsothel (0, 66.70, 33.35 and 16.68 mg/kg) daily for 180 days, followed by the withdrawal of tsothel for 120 days. Then, the related nephrotoxicity was examined by the ICP-MS, ELISA, colorimetric, RT-PCR, HE staining, immunohistochemical staining and flow cytometry methods. Results: Although tsothel administration led to a large accumulation of Hg (794.25 ± 464.30 ng/g in the 66.70 mg/kg group, 775.75 ± 307.89 ng/g in the 33.35 mg/kg group and 532.60 ± 356.77 ng/g in the 16.68 mg/kg group) in the kidney after 120 days of tsothel withdrawal, the blood CREA and BUN, urinary Kim-1, NAG, RBP and β2-MG, renal SOD, MDA, pathology, proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle had no significant changes compared with the control group. Additionally, the high GSH content (318.87 ± 44.19 nmol/mL in the 33.35 mg/kg group) and the relative expression levels of Kim-1 (1.08 ± 0.11 in the 33.35 mg/kg group), MT-1 (1.46 ± 0.10 in the 66.70 mg/kg group, 1.61 ± 0.19 in the 33.35 mg/kg group and 1.57 ± 0.14 in the 16.68 mg/kg group) and GST-Pi (1.76 ± 0.89 in the 33.35 mg/kg group) mRNA recovered to normal after tsothel withdrawal. Interestingly, the change trend of GST-Pi gene expression was consistent with the change trend of GSH activity. Conclusions: Overall, our study shows that tsothel administration did not induce overt nephrotoxicity but did have reversible stress-related effects. These results suggest that tsothel affects stress response mechanisms with the involvement of detoxifying enzyme systems. The formulation method and chemotype could play a role in the reduced toxicity potential of tsothel compared to common mercurials. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Background. Xiaotong Tiegao (XTT) is an ancient topical Tibetan medicine plaster which is widely used in China. Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) caused by XTT is very common. It is still unclear why some people are more prone to develop ICD. The aim of this study is to study the baseline skin biophysical parameters and patch test results in individuals predisposing to XTT induced ICD. Methods. During a four-month period, 149 healthy volunteers with ICD and 50 volunteers without ICD after applying XTT were recruited. The skin biophysical parameters were measured, and contact allergy to 20 common allergens was patch tested, at two weeks after the ICD was recovered. Results. There were no significant differences in age and sex between ICD and control groups. It was found that skin median melanin value (176.50 vs 189.50, P < 0.05, Mann-Whitney U-test) and erythema value (319.90 ± 70.49 vs 347.93 ± 84.55, P < 0.05, Independent-Samples T test) were much lower in ICD than control group. Overall patch test results were not different, but the positivity rate of nickel sulfate (15.44% vs 4.00%, P < 0.05, Fisher's exact test) was significantly higher in ICD group. Conclusions. In conclusion, people with nickel allergy, lower values of skin melanin, and erythema are predisposing to develop ICD. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]