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Zuotai is a drug containing mercury considered to be the king of Tibetan medicine. The biosafety of Zuotai led people's attention and so far little is known about the toxicity of Zuotai to mast cells. RBL-2H3 cells which used as an alternative model of mast cells were treated with Zuotai, β-HgS and positive drug Compound 48/80 respectively. 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was used to determine the toxicity of drugs to RBL-2H3 cells. The degranulation of RBL-2H3 cells was studied from β-hexosaminidase, histamine, interleukin (IL)-4 and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). The result showed that Zuotai can affect the cytotoxicity and degranulation of RBL-2H3 cells and the results can provide reference for the toxicity evaluations of Tibetan medicine Zuotai.
Abstract Ethnopharmacological relevance Tibetan medicine has been practiced for 3800 years. Anzhijinhua San (AZJHS), which is a traditional Tibetan medicine, has been effective in the treatment of indigestion, anorexia and cold diarrhea. However, the effects of AZJHS on allergic diarrhea have not been reported. Aim of the study The aim of the present study was to elucidate the effect of AZJHS on experimental ovalbumin-induced diarrhea and elucidate its possible mechanism. Materials and methods Female BALB/c mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal injection with 50 μg ovalbumin (OVA) and 1 mg alum in saline twice during a 2-week period. From day 28, mice were orally challenged with OVA (50 mg) every other day for a total of ten times. AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) was orally administered every other day from day 0–46. Food allergy symptoms were evaluated. OVA- specific IgE, 5-HT and its metabolites in serum were determined. Immunohistochemical and histopathology were performed in gastrointestinal tract tissues. 5-HT-related gene expression was assayed in the colon. Results Severe symptoms of allergic diarrhea were observed in the model group (diarrhea, anaphylactic response, and rectal temperature). AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly reduced mouse diarrhea and significantly prevented the increases in OVA-specific IgE levels (P < 0.05), which challenge with OVA. AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly prevented the increases in 5-HT-positive cells. The nuclei of EC cells in the AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) group increased in size and the secretory granules were fewer in number compared with those in the model group. AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly increased the relative fold changes of 5-HTP and 5-HT compared with the model group. The mRNA expression of the serotonin transporter (Sert) and serotonin receptor 3A (Htr3a) was significantly decreased after the 10th challenge with OVA, and AZJHS (46.8 and 468.0 mg/kg) significantly increased these levels. Conclusions We demonstrated that the administration of AZJHS attenuated OVA-induced diarrhea by regulating the serotonin pathway. These results indicated that AZJHS may be a potential candidate as an anti-allergic diarrhea agent. Graphical abstract fx1 [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]