Rhubarb Peony Decoction ameliorates ulcerative colitis in mice by regulating gut microbiota to restoring Th17/Treg balance.


School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China. Electronic address: [Email]


UNASSIGNED : Rhubarb Peony Decoction (RPD) is a formula of traditional Chinese medicine chronicled in Jin Gui Yao Lve, commonly used to treat ulcerative colitis (UC). However, the underlying mechanism of RPD treating UC remains elusive. In our study, we investigated the therapeutic efficacy of RPD and potential mechanism involved in inhibiting dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced ulcerative colitis in mice.
METHODS : The colitis was induced by DSS in mice for 5 days and estimated body weight loss, disease activity index (DAI) and colon length. Histological changes were observed by H&E staining. The number and abundance of gut mircrobiota were measured with 16 S rDNA sequencing. GC-MS was used to detect the concentration of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in cecum. Flow cytometry analyzed the proportion of Th17 and Treg cells in mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs). IL-17A and Foxp3 in colon were determined by immunohistochemical analyses. The level of cytokine was determined by Multi-Analyte Flow Assay Kit.
RESULTS : Administration of RPD significantly alleviated the pathological changes of UC mice, involving rescued the inflammation-related reduction of colon length, ameliorated body weight loss and damaged tissue. In addition, RPD altered the gut microbiota, involving restored α diversity, increased significantly the abundance of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, decreased the Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. Furthermore, the number of Butyricicoccus pullicaecorum, a butyrate-producing bacterium, were augmented obviously by RPD. Besides, RPD restored the content of SCFA in intestinal tract. Additionally, the proportion of Th17 cells and Treg cells in mesenteric lymph nodes, likewise, the expression of IL-17A and Foxp3 in colon were regulated by RPD, contributing to the restoration of Th17/Treg balance. Moreover, RPD significantly decreased the level of IL-6, TNF-α, IFNγ, IL-10, IL-17A, IL-21, IL-22 in colon, simultaneously increased Treg-related cytokine TGF-β at dose-dependently.
CONCLUSIONS : These results demonstrated that RPD had effect on ulcerative colitis, which was related to regulating gut microbiota, especially Butyricicoccus pullicaecorum, and SCFAs to restore the gut Th17/Treg homeostasis.


Butyricicoccus pullicaecorum,Gut microbiota,Rhubarb Peony Decoction,SCFAs,Th17/Treg,Ulcerative colitis,