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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.

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]