Research and Development Centre for Natural Health Products, HKBU Shenzhen Research and Continuing Education, Shenzhen, China; Consun Chinese Medicines Research Centre for Renal Diseases, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China. Electronic address: [Email]
UNASSIGNED : Yi-Shen-Hua-Shi (YSHS) granule is a modern Chinese patent drug for treating chronic glomerulonephritis (CGN). It is derived from a traditional Chinese medicine formula Sheng-Yang-Yi-Wei decoction that is used to treat CGN in ancient China. Pharmacological activities of YSHS granule have not been reported. In this work, we investigated the anti-CGN effects and TGFβ signaling-related mechanism of action of this herbal drug. METHODS : The rat model of CGN was established by injection of cationization-bovine serum albumin (C-BSA) for five weeks. After finishing C-BSA injection, drugs were intragastrically administered to the rats once daily for four weeks. Clinical signs were recorded daily. Serum and urine biochemical parameters were analyzed by respective kits. Protein levels were examined by Western blotting. Pathological changes of renal tissues were evaluated by HE and Masson's trichrome staining. CONCLUSIONS : No significant differences in clinical signs and body weights were found among normal, model and drug treatment groups. Proteinuria; albuminuria; increased urine volume; elevated urea nitrogen, creatinine, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in sera; decreased serum total protein and albumin; as well as renal pathological damage and fibrosis were observed in CGN model rats. YSHS granule ameliorated all the abnormal behavioral and biochemical changes in the model rats. Mechanical investigations showed that YSHS granule down-regulated proteins levels of TGFβ1, phospho-Smad2/3 (Thr 8) and Smad4 in rat renal tissues. In conclusion, YSHS granule demonstrates therapeutic effects in a rat model of CGN, and inhibition of the TGFβ/Smad signaling pathway is involved in the mechanism of action of the granule. This study provides a pharmacological basis for the use of modern YSHS granule and ancient Sheng-Yang-Yi-Wei decoction in treating CGN.