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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]

To differentiate three medicinal Hippopahe species of seabuckthorn, a combined genetic and chemical identification method was established in this study. ITS2 and psbA-trnH were tested for identification of 3 species of seabuckthorn. Detection of the kimura 2-parameter (K2P) distance, the neighbor-joining (NJ) tree and the barcoding gap were used to assess the identification efficiency. ¹H-NMR based metabolic method was applied to acquire the profile of metabolites. PCA was used to analysis the metabolite data. The results indicated that DNA barcode combined ¹H-NMR based metabolic method is a powerful tool for the identification of 3 medicinal Hippopahe species of seabuckthorn. The finding demonstrated that different genetic variation and chemical constituents existed among 3 medicinal Hippopahe species of seabuckthorn. The combined identification method will improve the reliability of species discrimination and could be applicable to much other ethnic medicine which has various origins in China.

The ITS2 barcode was used toidentify Tibetan medicine "Dida", and tosecure its quality and safety in medication. A total of 13 species, 151 experimental samples for the study from the Tibetan Plateau, including Gentianaceae Swertia, Halenia, Gentianopsis, Comastoma, Lomatogonium ITS2 sequences were amplified, and purified PCR products were sequenced. Sequence assembly and consensus sequence generation were performed using the CodonCode Aligner V3.7.1. The Kimura 2-Parameter (K2P) distances were calculated using MEGA 6.0. The neighbor-joining (NJ) phylogenetic trees were constructed. There are 31 haplotypes among 231 bp after alignment of all ITS2 sequence haplotypes, and the average G±C content of 61.40%. The NJ tree strongly supported that every species clustered into their own clade and high identification success rate, except that Swertia bifolia and Swertia wolfangiana could not be distinguished from each other based on the sequence divergences. DNA barcoding could be used as a fast and accurate identification method to distinguish Tibetan medicine "Dida" to ensure its safe use.

DNA barcoding technique in combination with UFLC analysis technology was used to evaluate the quality of Tibetan medicine Pterocephalus hookeri from species identification and chemical qualitative and other aspects. Hybrid identification was established by DNA barcoding; UFLC-PDA was adopted to analyse fingerprint of different parts of Pterocephali Herba, and SPSS and Grey relation software were used for data analysis. The result showed that DNA barcoding is an accurate and reliable method in origin identification of Pterocephalus hookeri. The compounds in overground is more than underground by analysis of the different part fingerprint by UFLC. The genetic gene may be involved in the secondary metabolites of iridoid glycosides. Pertinence between gene and chemical component, as a new model established, could be suited for quality evaluation and resources protection.