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1.  Tetrahydrobiopterin Improves Endothelial Function in Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review 
Background. Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is a cofactor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability is reduced during the early stage of vascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and diabetic vasculopathy, and even throughout the entire progression of atherosclerosis. Methods. A literature search was performed using electronic databases (up to January 31, 2014), including MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), using an established strategy. Results. Fourteen articles were selected with a total of 370 patients. Ten of the fourteen studies showed a significant improvement in the endothelial dysfunction of various cardiovascular disease groups with BH4 supplementation compared with the control groups or placebos. Three studies showed no positive outcome, and one study showed that low-dose BH4 had no effect but that high-dose BH4 did have a significantly different result. Conclusions. This review concludes that supplementation with BH4 and/or augmentation of the endogenous levels of BH4 will be a novel approach to improve the endothelial dysfunction observed in various cardiovascular diseases. BH4 might be considered to be a new therapeutic agent to prevent the initiation and progression of cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC4273464  PMID: 25548592
2.  Acupuncture for Essential Hypertension: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Sham-Controlled Clinical Trials 
Background. Acupuncture is frequently advocated as an adjunct treatment for essential hypertension. The aim of this review was to assess its adjunct effectiveness in treating hypertension. Methods. We searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and the Chinese databases Sino-Med, CNKI, WanFang, and VIP through November, 2012, for eligible randomized controlled trials that compared acupuncture with sham acupuncture. Outcome measures were changes in diastolic (DBP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP). Results. A total of 4 randomized controlled trials were included. We found no evidence of an improvement with the fact that acupuncture relative to sham acupuncture in SBP change (n = 386; mean difference = −3.80 mmHg, 95% CI = −10.03–2.44 mmHg; I2 = 99%), and an insignificant improvement in DBP change (n = 386; mean difference = −2.82 mmHg, 95% CI = −5.22–(−0.43) mmHg; I2 = 97%). In subgroup analyses, acupuncture significantly improved both SBP and DBP in patients taking antihypertensive medications. Only minor acupuncture-related adverse events were reported. Conclusions. Our results are consistent with acupuncture significantly lowers blood pressure in patients taking antihypertensive medications. We did not find that acupuncture without antihypertensive medications significantly improves blood pressure in those hypertensive patients.
PMCID: PMC3960742  PMID: 24723957
3.  The rs1142345 in TPMT Affects the Therapeutic Effect of Traditional Hypoglycemic Herbs in Prediabetes 
Therapeutic interventions in prediabetes are important in the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its chronic complications. However, little is known about the pharmacogenetic effect of traditional herbs on prediabetes treatment. A total of 194 impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) subjects were treated with traditional hypoglycemic herbs (Tianqi Jiangtang) for 12 months in this study. DNA samples were genotyped for 184 mutations in 34 genes involved in drug metabolism or transportation. Multinomial logistic regression analysis indicated that rs1142345 (A > G) in the thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) gene was significantly associated with the hypoglycemic effect of the drug (P = 0.001, FDR P = 0.043). The “G” allele frequencies of rs1142345 in the healthy (subjects reverted from IGT to normal glucose tolerance), maintenance (subjects still had IGT), and deterioration (subjects progressed from IGT to T2D) groups were 0.094, 0.214, and 0.542, respectively. Binary logistic regression analysis indicated that rs1142345 was also significantly associated with the hypoglycemic effect of the drug between the healthy and maintenance groups (P = 0.027, OR = 4.828) and between the healthy and deterioration groups (P = 0.001, OR = 7.811). Therefore, rs1142345 was associated with the clinical effect of traditional hypoglycemic herbs. Results also suggested that TPMT was probably involved in the pharmacological mechanisms of T2D.
PMCID: PMC3657408  PMID: 23737827
4.  Ginsenoside Rb1 Prevents MPP+-Induced Apoptosis in PC12 Cells by Stimulating Estrogen Receptors with Consequent Activation of ERK1/2, Akt and Inhibition of SAPK/JNK, p38 MAPK 
Ginsenoside Rb1 shows neuroprotective effects in various neurons, including dopaminergic cells. However, the precise mechanisms of action are uncertain. In this paper, we examine whether Rb1 has a neuroprotective effect on MPP+-induced apoptosis and attempt to clarify the signaling pathway in PC12 cells. Apoptosis of PC12 cells was determined by DNA fragmentation assay, the activation of caspase-3, or by the inactivation of Bcl-xL. Rb1 inhibited MPP+-induced caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation and activated Bcl-xL in MPP+-treated PC12 cells. These antiapoptotic effect was abrogated in PC12 cells transfected with estrogen receptor siRNA. Levels of DNA fragmentation were increased by wortmannin or PD 98059, while they were decreased by SB 203580 or SP 600125 in MPP+-treated PC12 cells. Rb1 increased phosphorylation levels of ERK1/2 or Akt in MPP+-treated PC12 cells, while it reduced phosphorylated p38 or SAPK/JNK. The increased phosphorylation of ERK/1/2 or Akt by Rb1 was abrogated by estrogen receptor siRNA. Rb1-induced inhibition of SAPK/JNK or p38 phosphorylation was also abolished by estrogen receptor siRNA. These results suggest that ginsenoside Rb1 protects PC12 cells from caspase-3-dependent apoptosis through stimulation of estrogen receptor with consequent activation of ERK1/2 and Akt and inhibition of SAPK/JNK and p38.
PMCID: PMC3457685  PMID: 23024694
5.  Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Compound Zhi Zhu Xiang in Rats 
The purpose of this study was to determine whether compound zhi zhu xiang (CZZX) exerts anxiolytic-like effects in rats. The animals were orally administered CZZX (0.75, 1.5, and 3 g/kg daily) for 10 days and tested in the elevated plus maze (EPM), Vogel conflict test (VCT), and open field. Repeated treatment with CZZX (3 g/kg/day, p.o.) significantly increased the percentage of both entries into and time spent on the open arms of the EPM compared with saline controls. In the VCT, repeated treatment with CZZX (1.5 and 3 g/kg/day, p.o.) significantly increased the number of punished licks. The drug did not change the total entries into the open arms of the EPM or interfere with water consumption or nociceptive threshold, discarding potential confounding factors in the two tests. In the open field, locomotion was not reduced, discarding the possible sedative effect of CZZX. In the binding assay, the binding of [3H] Ro 15-1788 (flumazenil) to the benzodiazepine binding site in washed crude synaptosomal membranes from rat cerebral cortex was affected by CZZX. These data indicate an anxiolytic-like profile of action for CZZX without sedative side effects, and this activity may be mediated by benzodiazepine binding site modulation at γ-aminobutyric acid-A receptors.
PMCID: PMC3368380  PMID: 22690249

Results 1-5 (5)