Research -Astragalus membranaceus
Effects of a Chinese Medicinal Plant Radix Astragali on the Ovariectomized Female Rats
Yan Zheng,1 Yue Jin,1 Hai-Bin Zhu,1 Shao-Ting Xu,1 Ya-Xian Xia,1 and Yue Huang2
Perimenopausal syndrome occurs during the transition to menopause. Complementary and alternative medicine, especially Chinese medicinal plants, has manifested significant effects in alleviating perimenopausal symptoms. However, little research has been focused on the effects of Chinese medicinal plant on the immune function of the perimenopausal women. The present study aimed to explore the effects of Radix Astragali (RA) on the sex hormone levels and the interleukins of the ovariectomized female rats. 24 female Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into model control group (MOD group), sham-operation group (SHAM group), RA group and estrogen group (EST group). After all the treatment ended, the serum levels of estradiol (E2), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), interleukin-2 (IL-2), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) were measured using enzyme-linked immune-sorbent assay (ELISA) and the uterus was removed and weighed after blood exsanguinations immediately. In the MOD group, the serum levels of E2 were significantly lower, and the serum levels of FSH and LH were markedly higher than those of the RA group, EST group and SHAM group (P<0.05). In the RA group, the serum levels of E2 were significantly lower, and the serum levels of FSH were markedly higher than those of the SHAM group and EST group, respectively. In the MOD group, the serum levels of IL-2 and IL-8 were significantly lower than those of the RA group, EST group and SHAM group (P<0.05), and no marked differences existed among RA group, EST group and SHAM group in the serum levels of IL-2 and IL-8 (P>0.05). The uterine weight of the rats in the RA group, EST group and SHAM group were significantly higher than those of the rats in MOD group (P<0.05). There were no marked differences among the rats from RA group, EST group and SHAM group on the uterine weight (P>0.05). It is concluded that RA can significantly improve the immune functions of the ovariectomized female rats, although it cannot change the sex hormones levels as significantly as estrogen.
Source : Afr J Tradit Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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Anti-atherosclerotic function of Astragali Radix extract: downregulation of adhesion molecules in vitro and in vivo
Yang You, Yan Duan, Shao-wei Liu, Xiao-lin Zhang, Xiu-li Zhang, Jia-tao Feng, Cheng-hui Yan, Ya-ling Han
1 Department of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Shenyang Northern Hospital, Shenyang, China
2 The Affiliated Hospital of Liaoning University of TCM, Shenyang, China
3 Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian, China
Atherosclerosis is considered to be a chronic inflammatory disease. Astragali Radix extract (ARE) is one of the major active ingredients extracted from the root of Astragalus membranaceus Bge. Although ARE has an anti-inflammatory function, its antiatherosclerotic effects and mechanisms have not yet been elucidated.
Murine endothelial SVEC4-10 cells were pretreated with different doses of ARE at different times prior to induction with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Cell adhesion assays were performed using THP-1 cells and assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, western
blotting and immunofluorescence analyses to detect the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), phosphorylated inhibitor of κB (p-iκB) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB. We also examined the effect of ARE on
atherosclerosis in the aortic endothelium of apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE−/−) mice.
TNF-α strongly increased the expression of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 accompanied by increased expression of p-iκB and NF-κB proteins. However, the expression levels of VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 were reduced by ARE in dose- and time-dependent manners, with the strongest effect at a dose of 120 μg/ml incubated for 4 h. This was accompanied by significantly decreased expression of p-iκB and inhibited activation of NF-κB.
Immunofluorescence analysis also revealed that oral administration of ARE resulted in downregulation of adhesion molecules and decreased expression of macrophages in the aortic endothelium of apoE−/− mice. ARE could suppress the inflammatory reaction and inhibit the
progression of atherosclerotic lesions in apoE−/− mice.
This study demonstrated that ARE might be an effective anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of atherosclerosis, possibly acting via the decreased expression of adhesion molecules.
Source : BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:54 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-54
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