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1.  In Vivo and In Vitro Metabolites from the Main Diester and Monoester Diterpenoid Alkaloids in a Traditional Chinese Herb, the Aconitum Species 
Diester diterpenoid alkaloids (DDAs), such as aconitine (AC), mesaconitine (MA), and hypaconitine (HA), are both pharmacologically active compounds and toxic ingredients in a traditional Chinese herb, the Aconitum species. Many DDA metabolism studies have been performed to explore mechanisms for reducing toxicity in these compounds and in Aconitum species extracts for safe clinical administration. In this review, we summarize recent progress on the metabolism of toxic AC, MA, and HA and corresponding monoester diterpenoid alkaloids (MDAs) in the gastrointestinal tract and liver in different animal species and humans in vivo and/or in vitro, where these alkaloids are primarily metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, carboxylesterases, and intestinal bacteria, which produces phase I metabolites, ester hydrolysed products, and lipoalkaloids. Furthermore, we classify metabolites detected in the blood and urine, where the aforementioned metabolites are absorbed and excreted. Less toxic MDAs and nontoxic alcohol amines are the primary DDA metabolites detected in the blood. Most other DDAs metabolites produced in the intestine and liver detected in the urine have not been reported in the blood. We propose an explanation for this nonconformity. Finally, taking AC, for instance, we generalize a process of toxicity reduction in the body after oral AC administration for the first time.
PMCID: PMC4332761
2.  Animal Study on Primary Dysmenorrhoea Treatment at Different Administration Times 
The new methods of different administration times for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea are more widely used clinically; however, no obvious mechanism has been reported. Therefore, an animal model which is closer to clinical evaluation is indispensable. A novel animal experiment with different administration times, based on the mice oestrous cycle, for primary dysmenorrhoea treatment was explored in this study. Mice were randomly divided into two parts (one-cycle and three-cycle part) and each part includes five groups (12 mice per group), namely, Jingqian Zhitong Fang (JQF) 6-day group, JQF last 3-day group, Yuanhu Zhitong tablet group, model control group, and normal control group. According to the one-way ANOVAs, results (writhing reaction, and PGF2α, PGE2, NO, and calcium ions analysis by ELISA) of the JQF cycle group were in accordance with those of JQF last 3-day group. Similarly, results of three-cycle continuous administration were consistent with those of one-cycle treatment. In conclusion, the consistency of the experimental results illustrated that the novel animal model based on mice oestrous cycle with different administration times is more reasonable and feasible and can be used to explore in-depth mechanism of drugs for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea in future.
PMCID: PMC4332465
3.  Reversal of Multidrug Resistance by the Chinese Medicine Yiqi Jianpi Huaji Decoction and the Mechanism of Action in Human Gastric Cancer SGC7901/VCR Cells 
Yiqi Jianpi Huaji Decoction (YJHD), a traditional Chinese medicinal formula composed of twelve ingredients, has recently been reported to have a good clinical curative effect. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of YJHD on SGC7901/VCR gastric cancer cells and to elucidate the possible mechanism of action. First, the effects of a low dose of YJHD in combination with chemotherapeutic agents on SGC7901/VCR cells were assessed using the CCK-8 assay and flow cytometry, and the effects of YJHD on genes and proteins involved in drug resistance (MDR1, MRP, TUBB3, STMN1, and TS) were evaluated. Furthermore, transfection of SGC7901/VCR cells with siRNAs targeting these genes inhibited their expression, and the efficacy of vincristine against the cells was dramatically improved in vitro when these genes were silenced. These results demonstrate that low-dose YJHD inhibited cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, reversed MDR, and increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents in vitro by downregulating P-gp, MRP, TUBB3, and STMN1 expression. MDR can be reversed by siRNAs targeting genes involved in MDR, and this strategy for cancer treatment should be evaluated in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4332981
4.  Ameliorating Effects of Ethanol Extract of Fructus mume on Scopolamine-Induced Memory Impairment in Mice 
We previously reported that Fructus mume (F. mume) extract shows protective effects on memory impairments and anti-inflammatory effects induced by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion. Neurodegeneration of basal cholinergic neurons is also observed in the brain with chronic cerebral hypoperfusion. Therefore, the present study was conducted to examine whether F. mume extracts enhance cognitive function via the action of cholinergic neuron using a scopolamine-induced animal model of memory impairments. F. mume (50, 100, or 200 mg/kg) was administered to C57BL/6 mice for 14 days (days 1–14) and memory impairment was induced by scopolamine (1 mg/kg), a muscarinic receptor antagonist for 7 days (days 8–14). Spatial memory was assessed using Morris water maze and hippocampal level of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) was examined by ELISA and immunoblotting. Mice that received scopolamine alone showed impairments in acquisition and retention in Morris water maze task and increased activity of AChE in the hippocampus. Mice that received F. mume and scopolamine showed no scopolamine-induced memory impairment and increased activity of AChE. In addition, treatments of F. mume increased ChAT expression in the hippocampus. These results indicated that F. mume might enhance cognitive function via action of cholinergic neurons.
PMCID: PMC4331472
5.  Millimeter Wave Treatment Inhibits Apoptosis of Chondrocytes via Regulation Dynamic Equilibrium of Intracellular Free Ca2+ 
The molecular mechanisms of TNF-α-induced apoptosis of chondrocyte and the role of Ca2+ mediating the effects of MW on TNF-α-induced apoptosis of chondrocytes remained unclear. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanism underlying inhibiting TNF-α-induced chondrocytes apoptosis of MW. MTT assay, DAPI, and flow cytometry demonstrated that MW significantly increased cell activity and inhibited chromatin condensation accompanying the loss of plasma membrane asymmetry and the collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential. Our results also indicated that MW reduced the elevation of [Ca2+]i in chondrocytes by LSCM. Moreover, MW suppressed the protein levels of calpain, Bax, cytochrome c, and caspase-3, while the expressions of Bcl-2, collagen II, and aggrecan were increased. Our evidences indicated that MW treatment inhibited the apoptosis of chondrocytes through depression of [Ca2+]i. It also inhibited calpain activation, which mediated Bax cleavage and cytochrome c release and initiated the apoptotic execution phase. In addition, MW treatment increased the expression of collagen II and aggrecan of chondrocytes.
PMCID: PMC4325209
6.  Traditional Chinese Herb Combined with Surgery versus Surgery for Varicocele Infertility: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Objective. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review to assess the effectiveness and safety of traditional Chinese herb combined with surgery for male varicocele infertility compared to surgery. Methods. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) data of traditional Chinese herbs combined with surgery for male varicocele fertility versus surgery were collected by searching the Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed, and Chinese databases. The risk of bias was assessed using Cochrane Handbook. Study outcomes were presented as risk ratios (RRs) for dichotomous data. Results. Seventeen of 72 potentially relevant trials met the inclusion criteria. The methodological qualities of the RCTs were low. Compared with the surgery group, the traditional Chinese herb combined with surgery group had superiority in pregnancy rate at 3-month (RR = 1.76, and P = 0.008), 6-month (RR = 1.58, and P = 0.0005), and 2-year (RR = 1.58, and P = 0.0005) follow-ups. No RCT was found to describe the side effects. Conclusion. On considering the low methodological quality of RCTs, there was no enough evidence on traditional Chinese herb with surgery for male varicocele infertility, and more high-quality RCTs of large sample sizes are required.
PMCID: PMC4325216
7.  Molecular Signatures in the Prevention of Radiation Damage by the Synergistic Effect of N-Acetyl Cysteine and Qingre Liyan Decoction, a Traditional Chinese Medicine, Using a 3-Dimensional Cell Culture Model of Oral Mucositis 
Qingre Liyan decoction (QYD), a Traditional Chinese medicine, and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) have been used to prevent radiation induced mucositis. This work evaluates the protective mechanisms of QYD, NAC, and their combination (NAC-QYD) at the cellular and transcriptional level. A validated organotypic model of oral mucosal consisting of a three-dimensional (3D) cell tissue-culture of primary human keratinocytes exposed to X-ray irradiation was used. Six hours after the irradiation, the tissues were evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin (H and E) and a TUNEL assay to assess histopathology and apoptosis, respectively. Total RNA was extracted and used for microarray gene expression profiling. The tissue-cultures treated with NAC-QYD preserved their integrity and showed no apoptosis. Microarray results revealed that the NAC-QYD caused the upregulation of genes encoding metallothioneins, HMOX1, and other components of the Nrf2 pathway, which protects against oxidative stress. DNA repair genes (XCP, GADD45G, RAD9, and XRCC1), protective genes (EGFR and PPARD), and genes of the NFκB pathway were upregulated. Finally, tissue-cultures treated prophylactically with NAC-QYD showed significant downregulation of apoptosis, cytokines and chemokines genes, and constrained damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). NAC-QYD treatment involves the protective effect of Nrf2, NFκB, and DNA repair factors.
PMCID: PMC4326035
8.  Icariin Prevents Amyloid Beta-Induced Apoptosis via the PI3K/Akt Pathway in PC-12 Cells 
Icariin is a prenylated flavonol glycoside derived from the Chinese herb Epimedium sagittatum that exerts a variety of pharmacological activities and shows promise in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. In this study, we investigated the neuroprotective effects of icariin against amyloid beta protein fragment 25–35 (Aβ25–35) induced neurotoxicity in cultured rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells and explored potential underlying mechanisms. Our results showed that icariin dose-dependently increased cell viability and decreased Aβ25–35-induced apoptosis, as assessed by MTT assay and Annexin V/propidium iodide staining, respectively. Results of western blot analysis revealed that the selective phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 suppressed icariin-induced Akt phosphorylation, suggesting that the protective effects of icariin are associated with activation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. LY294002 also blocked the icariin-induced downregulation of proapoptotic factors Bax and caspase-3 and upregulation of antiapoptotic factor Bcl-2 in Aβ25–35-treated PC12 cells. These findings provide further evidence for the clinical efficacy of icariin in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC4326344
9.  Protective Effects of Total Saponins of Panax Notoginseng on Steroid-Induced Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head In Vivo and In Vitro 
This research was designed to investigate the protective effects of TSPN on steroid-induced avascular necrosis of the femoral head (ANFH) and the likely mechanisms of those effects. As an in vivo study, TSPN was shown to be protective against steroid-induced ANFH due to the upregulation of VEGF-A. Furthermore, TSPN attenuated the apoptosis of osteocytes and reduced the expression of Caspase-3 relative to the model group. As an in vitro study, TSPN exerted a concentration-dependent protective effect against apoptosis in MC3T3-E1 cells. Moreover, TSPN (at a dose of 100 μg/mL) significantly reversed the dexamethasone-induced augmentation of Caspase-3 expression and activity. Therefore, our study demonstrated that TSPN had a protective effect against steroid-induced ANFH that was related to the upregulation of VEGF-A and the inhibition of apoptosis and Caspase-3 activation.
PMCID: PMC4324945
10.  Influence of Spirituality on Cool Down Reactions, Work Engagement, and Life Satisfaction in Anthroposophic Health Care Professionals 
This study aimed to analyse whether spirituality is a resource for health care professionals to deal with increasing stress and work burden, specifically to analyse associations between “cool down reactions” (which describe an emotional distancing towards patients and/or reduced engagement as a strategy to protect their own functionality), work burden, and life satisfaction. We specifically focussed on anthroposophic health care professionals because of their unique approach to distinct aspects of spirituality. In a cross-sectional survey using standardized questionnaires, 489 persons were enrolled (66% women, mean age 53 ± 10 years, 41% physicians, 12% nurses, and 47% other health care professionals). They scored very high on all measures of spirituality and moderate to low with respect to “cool down reactions.” Significant predictors of “cool down reactions” were low work vigor, perceived work burden, alcohol consumption, low life satisfaction, and religious orientation (R2 = 0.20). In contrast, their life satisfaction was explained best (R2 = 0.35) by vigor, with further positive influences of being a physician, conscious interactions, and living with a partner on one hand and negative influences of “cool down reactions,” work burden, and transcendence convictions on the other hand. Thus, specific aspects of spirituality have only a small influence on anthroposophic health care professionals' “cool down reactions,” but might buffer against a loss of vigor and dedication in their work.
PMCID: PMC4324950
11.  Hepatoprotective, Antioxidant, and Anticancer Effects of the Tragopogon porrifolius Methanolic Extract 
Tragopogon porrifolius (Asteraceae), commonly referred to as white salsify, is an edible herb used in Lebanese folk medicine to treat cancer and liver dysfunction. In this study, we investigated the antioxidant activity of Tragopogon porrifolius methanolic extract, both in vitro and in vivo, in addition to its hepatoprotective and anticancer activities. Total phenolic and flavonoid contents were measured and found to be 37.0 ± 1.40 mg GAE/g and 16.6 ± 0.42 mg QE/g dry weight, respectively. In vitro antioxidant assays revealed an FRAP value of 659 ± 13.8 µmol Fe2+/g of extract and DPPH IC50 value 15.2 µg/mL. In rats subjected to CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity, significant increase in CAT, SOD, and GST levels was detected. The highest dose of the extract (250 mg/kg) recorded a fold increase of 1.68 for SOD, 2.49 for GST, and 3.2 for CAT. The extract also showed substantial decrease in AST (57%), ALT (56%), and LDH (65%) levels. Additionally, the extract caused a dose-dependent decrease in cell viability and proliferation. In conclusion, the methanolic extract of T. porrifolius displayed a relatively high antioxidant activity both in vitro and in vivo as well as hepatoprotective potential against liver toxicity in rats and anticancer effect on MDA-MB-231 and Caco-2 cells.
PMCID: PMC4324983
12.  Topical Treatment with Xiaozheng Zhitong Paste (XZP) Alleviates Bone Destruction and Bone Cancer Pain in a Rat Model of Prostate Cancer-Induced Bone Pain by Modulating the RANKL/RANK/OPG Signaling 
To explore the effects and mechanisms of Xiaozheng Zhitong Paste (XZP) on bone cancer pain, Wistar rats were inoculated with vehicle or prostate cancer PC-3 into the tibia bone and treated topically with inert paste, XZP at 15.75, 31.5, or 63 g/kg twice per day for 21 days. Their bone structural damage, nociceptive behaviors, bone osteoclast and osteoblast activity, and the levels of OPG, RANL, RNAK, PTHrP, IGF-1, M-CSF, IL-8, and TNF-α were examined. In comparison with that in the placebo group, significantly reduced numbers of invaded cancer cells, decreased levels of bone damage and mechanical threshold and paw withdrawal latency, lower levels of serum TRACP5b, ICTP, PINP, and BAP, and less levels of bone osteoblast and osteoclast activity were detected in the XZP-treated rats (P<0.05). Moreover, significantly increased levels of bone OPG but significantly decreased levels of RANL, RNAK, PTHrP, IGF-1, M-CSF, IL-8, and TNF-α were detected in the XZP-treated rats (P<0.05 for all). Together, XZP treatment significantly mitigated the cancer-induced bone damage and bone osteoclast and osteoblast activity and alleviated prostate cancer-induced bone pain by modulating the RANKL/RANK/OPG pathway and bone cancer-related inflammation in rats.
PMCID: PMC4322667
13.  Effect of GuiXiong Xiaoyi Wan in Treatment of Endometriosis on Rats 
Objective. To evaluate the effect of GuiXiong Xiaoyi Wan (GXXYW) on the development of endometriosis in a rat model. Methods. Sprague-Dawley rats with surgically induced endometriosis were randomly treated with low-dose GXXYW, high-dose GXXYW, or vehicle (negative control) for 28 days. Immunohistochemistry was used to assess cell proliferation in the lesions. The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase- (TdT-) mediated dUTP biotin nick end labelling (TUNEL) method was performed to analyse the apoptosis induced by GuiXiong Xiaoyi Wan. The percentages of CD3+ lymphocytes, CD4+ lymphocytes, and CD8+ lymphocytes in the spleens of the rats were evaluated using flow cytometric analysis. Results. Treatment with GXXYW significantly decreased the lesion size, inhibited cell proliferation, and induced apoptosis in endometriotic tissue. The spleens of GXXYW-treated rats also demonstrated a significant increase in the percentage of CD4+ lymphocytes and a significant decrease in the percentage of CD8+ lymphocytes. Conclusions. These results suggest that, in a rat model, GXXYW may be effective in the suppression of the growth of endometriosis, possibly through the inhibition of cell proliferation, the induction of apoptosis of endometriotic cells, and the regulation of the immune system.
PMCID: PMC4322821
15.  Hepatoprotective Effect of Terminalia chebula against t-BHP-Induced Acute Liver Injury in C57/BL6 Mice 
We aimed to identify the hepatoprotective effects of Terminalia chebula water extract (TCW) and its corresponding pharmacological actions using C57/BL6 mice model of tert-butylhydroperoxide-(t-BHP-) induced acute liver injury. Mice were orally administered with TCW (0, 50, 100, or 200 mg/kg) or gallic acid (100 mg/kg) for 5 days before t-BHP (2.5 mM/kg) injection. Liver enzymes, histopathology, oxidative stress parameters, antioxidant components, and inflammatory cytokines were examined 18 h after t-BHP injection. t-BHP injection caused dramatic elevation of serum AST, ALT, and LDH level, while TCW pretreatment notably attenuated these elevations. Inflammatory cytokines including TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 were notably increased in hepatic tissues, and then these were efficiently attenuated by TCW pretreatment. t-BHP injection notably increased malondialdehyde, total reactive oxygen species, and nitric oxide in the liver tissue, while it markedly dropped the antioxidant activities including total antioxidant capacity, total glutathione contents, glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase. TCW pretreatment remarkably ameliorated these alterations, and these effects were relevant to gene expressions. Histopathological examinations supported the above findings. Collectively, these findings well prove that TCW beneficially prevents acute and severe liver injury and clarify its corresponding mechanisms involved in the inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC4321673
16.  Neuroprotective Effect of Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi) on Ma Huang- (Herb Ephedra-) Induced Toxicity in Rats Treated with a Ma Huang-Gui Zhi Herb Pair 
Herb Ephedra (Ma Huang in Chinese) and Ramulus Cinnamomi (Gui Zhi in Chinese) are traditional Chinese herbs, often used together to treat asthma, nose and lung congestion, and fever with anhidrosis. Due to the adverse effects of ephedrine, clinical use of Ma Huang is restricted. However, Gui Zhi extract has been reported to decrease spontaneous activity in rats and exert anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. The present study explored the possible inhibitory effect of Gui Zhi on Ma Huang-induced neurotoxicity in rats when the two herbs were used in combination. All Ma Huang and Ma Huang-Gui Zhi herb pair extracts were prepared using methods of traditional Chinese medicine and were normalized based on the ephedrine content. Two-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 6 rats/group) were administered Ma Huang or the Ma Huang-Gui Zhi herb pair extracts for 7 days (ephedrine = 48 mg/kg), and locomotor activity was measured. After 7 days, oxidative damage in the prefrontal cortex was measured. Gui Zhi decreased hyperactivity and sensitization produced by repeated Ma Huang administration and attenuated oxidative stress induced by Ma Huang. The results of this study demonstrate the neuroprotective potential of Gui Zhi in Ma Huang-induced hyperactivity and oxidative damage in the prefrontal cortex of rats when used in combination.
PMCID: PMC4321680
17.  Identifying Chinese Herbal Medicine Network for Eczema: Implications from a Nationwide Prescription Database 
Eczema is a highly prevalent dermatological disease that can severely affect the patient's quality of life. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is commonly used in combination for eczema due to the complicated pathogenesis. This study aimed to identify a CHM network for the treatment of eczema by using a nationwide database. During 2011, 381,282 CHM prescriptions made for eczema (ICD-9-CM 692.x) were obtained from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) in Taiwan and analyzed by using association rule mining and social network analysis. Among 661 available CHMs, 44 important combinations were identified. Among the CHM networks, seven clusters with the predominant traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) pattern were recognized. The largest CHM cluster was used to treat the wind-dampness-heat pattern, and Xiao-Feng-San (24.1% of all prescriptions) was the core of this cluster with anti-inflammation, antioxidation, and antiallergic effects. Lonicera japonica (11.0% of all prescriptions) with Forsythia suspense (17.0% of all prescriptions) was the most commonly used CHM combination and was also the core treatment for treating the heat pattern, in which an antimicrobial effect is found. CHM network analysis is helpful for TCM doctors or researchers to choose candidates for clinical practice or further studies.
PMCID: PMC4320894
18.  Effect of Rat Medicated Serum Containing Zuo Gui Wan and/or You Gui Wan on the Differentiation of Stem Cells Derived from Human First Trimester Umbilical Cord into Oocyte-Like Cells In Vitro 
Zuo Gui Wan (ZGW) and You Gui Wan (YGW) are two classic formulas used in clinical treatment of infertility in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). However, the actions of the formulas remain to be proven at the cellular and molecular levels. In this study, we investigate whether the two formulas have any effect on germ cell formation and differentiation by culturing rat medicated serums containing YGW or ZGW with stem cells derived from human first trimester umbilical cord. Our results showed that while the normal rat serums had no significant effects, the rat medicated serums had significant effects on the differentiation of the stem cells into oocyte-like cells (OLCs) based on (1) cell morphological changes that resembled purative cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs); (2) expressions of specific markers that were indicative of germ cell formation and oocyte development; and (3) estradiol production by the COC-like cells. Furthermore, ZGW medicated serums exhibited more obvious effects on specific gene expressions of germ cells, whereas YGW medicated serums showed stronger effects on estradiol production. Accordingly, our study provides evidence demonstrating for the first time that one of molecular and cellular actions of YGW or ZGW in treating human reproductive dysfunctions may be through an enhancement of neooogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4320897
19.  Sitting Tai Chi Improves the Balance Control and Muscle Strength of Community-Dwelling Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries: A Pilot Study 
Objective. To investigate the effects of sitting Tai Chi on muscle strength, balance control, and quality of life (QOL) among survivors with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Methods. Eleven SCI survivors participated in the sitting Tai Chi training (90 minutes/session, 2 times/week for 12 weeks) and eight SCI survivors acted as controls. Dynamic sitting balance was evaluated using limits of stability test and a sequential weight shifting test in sitting. Handgrip strength was also tested using a hand-held dynamometer. QOL was measured using the World Health Organization's Quality of Life Scale. Results. Tai Chi practitioners achieved significant improvements in their reaction time (P = 0.042); maximum excursion (P = 0.016); and directional control (P = 0.025) in the limits of stability test after training. In the sequential weight shifting test, they significantly improved their total time to sequentially hit the 12 targets (P = 0.035). Significant improvement in handgrip strength was also found among the Tai Chi practitioners (P = 0.049). However, no significant within and between-group differences were found in the QOL outcomes (P > 0.05). Conclusions. Twelve weeks of sitting Tai Chi training could improve the dynamic sitting balance and handgrip strength, but not QOL, of the SCI survivors.
PMCID: PMC4320788
20.  Effectiveness of Moxibustion Treatment in Quality of Life in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial 
Objective. To observe the effects of traditional Chinese moxibustion, compared with sham moxibustion, on the quality of life (QOL) in patients with chronic knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Methods. This is a randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. 150 patients with KOA were randomly allocated to either a true moxibustion treatment (n = 77) or a sham moxibustion treatment (n = 73) three times a week for six weeks. The QOL of patients was evaluated with SF-36 at baseline and 3, 6, and 12 weeks after baseline. Results. 136 patients were available for analysis. Participants in the true moxibustion group experienced statistically significantly greater improvement in GH (general health) scores than the sham group at week 6 (P = 0.015) and week 12 (P = 0.029). Participants in the true moxibustion group experienced statistically significantly greater improvement in VT (vitality) scores than the sham group at week 12 (P = 0.042). No significant adverse effects were found during the trial. Conclusion. A 6-week moxibustion treatment seems to improve general health and vitality, which are associated with physical and mental quality of life, in patients with KOA up to 12 weeks, relative to credible sham moxibustion. This trial is registered with ISRCTN68475405.
PMCID: PMC4320789
21.  The Effects of Tai Chi in Centrally Obese Adults with Depression Symptoms 
This study examined the effects of Tai Chi, a low-impact mind-body movement therapy, on severity of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms in centrally obese people with elevated depression symptoms. In total, 213 participants were randomized to a 24-week Tai Chi intervention program or a wait-list control group. Assessments were conducted at baseline and 12 and 24 weeks. Outcomes were severity of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, leg strength, central obesity, and other measures of metabolic symptom. There were statistically significant between-group differences in favor of the Tai Chi group in depression (mean difference = −5.6 units, P < 0.001), anxiety (−2.3 units, P < 0.01), and stress (−3.6 units, P < 0.001) symptom scores and leg strength (1.1 units, P < 0.001) at 12 weeks. These changes were further improved or maintained in the Tai Chi group relative to the control group during the second 12 weeks of follow-up. Tai Chi appears to be beneficial for reducing severity of depression, anxiety, and stress and leg strength in centrally obese people with depression symptoms. More studies with longer follow-up are needed to confirm the findings. This trial is registered with ACTRN12613000010796.
PMCID: PMC4320798
22.  The Protective Effect of Lacidipine on Myocardial Remodeling Is Mediated by the Suppression in Expression of GPR78 and CHOP in Rats 
Lacidipine (LAC) is now widely used for the treatment of hypertension and further can prevent cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling. However, the underlying mechanism has not been fully understood. In this study, we examined the protective effects of LAC on cardiac remodeling in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and investigated the possible mechanism. Four weeks after administration of the designated drugs, blood pressure, left ventricular mass index (LVMI), and rterial pressure (MAP) were measured. The endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) parameters such as GRP78 and CHOP expressions in cardiomyocytes were also detected by immunohistochemistry. Results showed that the MAP in 0.36 and 0.72 mg/kg LAC groups was markedly lowered compared with that of the SHR control group (P < 0.01 or P < 0.05). Moreover, 0.72 mg/kg LAC could also significantly decrease the LVMI (P < 0.05). Simultaneously, the results of immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the expression of GRP78 and CHOP was significantly decreased by 0.72 mg/kg LAC (P < 0.05), respectively. Our present study suggested that LAC could lower blood pressure and could prevent left ventricular hypertrophy accompanied by inhibiting expression of GRP78 and CHOP in ERS.
PMCID: PMC4320802
23.  Evaluation of Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Alchornea laxiflora (Benth.) Pax. & Hoffman 
Alchornea laxiflora leaf extract was tested against a range of microorganisms using standard microbiological methods for antimicrobial activities. The extract inhibited the growth of all the bacterial and 15 fungal isolates tested. The zones of inhibition exhibited against the test bacteria ranged between 12 mm and 24 mm and between 11 mm and 24 mm for the extract and the antibiotic streptomycin, respectively. The zones of inhibition observed against the fungal isolates by the extract ranged between 12 mm and 23 mm. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and the minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) exhibited by the extract against test bacteria ranged between 0.78 mg/mL–25 mg/mL and 1.56 mg/mL–25 mg/mL, respectively, while the MICs and minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) values for the test fungi ranged between 8.75 mg/mL–35.00 mg/mL and 8.75 mg/mL–35.00 mg/L, respectively. The preliminary phytochemical screening of the extract revealed the presence of alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, saponins, and reducing sugars as major phytoconstituents in the extract. A. laxiflora leaf extract is a potent source of antibacterial and antifungal compounds; further studies on the extract are ongoing in our laboratories to elucidate the probable mechanism(s) of action on bacteria and fungi found to be susceptible to the extract.
PMCID: PMC4320868
25.  Urinary Metabolite Profiling Offers Potential for Differentiation of Liver-Kidney Yin Deficiency and Dampness-Heat Internal Smoldering Syndromes in Posthepatitis B Cirrhosis Patients 
Zheng is the basic theory and essence of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in diagnosing diseases. However, there are no biological evidences to support TCM Zheng differentiation. In this study we elucidated the biological alteration of cirrhosis with TCM “Liver-Kidney Yin Deficiency (YX)” or “Dampness-Heat Internal Smoldering (SR)” Zheng and the potential of urine metabonomics in TCM Zheng differentiation. Differential metabolites contributing to the intergroup variation between healthy controls and liver cirrhosis patients were investigated, respectively, and mainly participated in energy metabolism, gut microbiota metabolism, oxidative stress, and bile acid metabolism. Three metabolites, aconitate, citrate, and 2-pentendioate, altered significantly in YX Zheng only, representing the abnormal energy metabolism. Contrarily, hippurate and 4-pyridinecarboxylate altered significantly in SR Zheng only, representing the abnormalities of gut microbiota metabolism. Moreover, there were significant differences between two TCM Zhengs in three metabolites, glycoursodeoxycholate, cortolone-3-glucuronide, and L-aspartyl-4-phosphate, among all differential metabolites. Metabonomic profiling, as a powerful approach, provides support to the understanding of biological mechanisms of TCM Zheng stratification. The altered urinary metabolites constitute a panel of reliable biological evidence for TCM Zheng differentiation in patients with posthepatitis B cirrhosis and may be used for the potential biomarkers of TCM Zheng stratification.
PMCID: PMC4312628  PMID: 25667596

Results 1-25 (4062)