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Open Access Research article

Astragalosides from Radix Astragali benefits experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL /6 mice at multiple levels

Yi-Xin He12, Min Du3, Hai-Lian Shi2, Fei Huang2, Hong-Shuai Liu2, Hui Wu2, Bei-Bei Zhang2, Wei Dou2, Xiao-Jun Wu2* and Zheng-Tao Wang12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacognosy, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China

2 The Ministry of Education (MOE) Key Laboratory for Standardization of Chinese Medicines, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Complex Prescription, Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China

3 Unit of Immune Signaling and Regulation, Institute Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:313  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-313

Published: 24 August 2014

Abstract

Background

Radix Astragali is famous for its beneficial effect on inflammation associated diseases. This study was to assess the efficacy of astragalosides (AST) extracted from Radix Astragali, on the progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and explore its possible underlying molecular mechanisms.

Methods

EAE was induced by subcutaneous immunization of MOG35–55. Infiltration of inflammatory cells was examined by HE staining. ROS level was detected by measuring infiltrated hydroethidine. Leakage of blood brain barrier (BBB) was assessed using Evan’s blue dye extravasation method. Levels of inflammatory cytokines were measured using ELISA kits. Activities of total-SOD, GSH-Px, and iNOS and MDA concentration were measured using biochemical analytic kits. Gene expression was detected using real-time PCR method. Protein expression was assayed using western blotting approach.

Results

AST administration attenuated the progression of EAE in mice remarkably. Further studies manifested that AST treatment inhibited infiltration of inflammatory cells, lessened ROS production and decreased BBB leakage. In peripheral immune-systems, AST up-regulated mRNA expression of transcriptional factors T-bet and Foxp3 but decreased that of RORγt to modulate T cell differentiation. In CNS, AST stopped BBB leakage, reduced ROS production by up-regulation of T-SOD, and reduced neuroinflammation by inhibition of iNOS and other inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, AST inhibited production of p53 and phosphorylation of tau by modulation of the Bcl-2/Bax ratio.

Conclusions

AST orchestrated multiple pathways, including immuno-regulation, anti-oxidative stress, anti-neuroinflammation and anti-neuroapoptosis involved in the MS pathogenesis, to prevent the deterioration of EAE, which paves the way for the application of it in clinical prevention/therapy of MS.

Keywords:
Astragalosides; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; Multiple sclerosis; Neuroinflammation; Oxidative stress; Apoptosis