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Eucommia bark (Du-Zhong) improves diabetic nephropathy without altering blood glucose in type 1-like diabetic rats

Authors Niu H, Liu I, Niu C, Ku P, Hsu C, Cheng J

Received 18 October 2015

Accepted for publication 20 January 2016

Published 2 March 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 971—978


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan

Ho-Shan Niu,1 I-Min Liu,2 Chiang-Shan Niu,1 Po-Ming Ku,3,4 Chao-Tien Hsu,5 Juei-Tang Cheng4,6

1Department of Nursing, Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Hualien City, 2Department of Pharmacy & Graduate Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology, Tajen University, Pingtung County, 3Department of Cardiology, 4Department of Medical Research, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Yong Kang, Tainan City, 5Department of Pathology, E-DA Hospital, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung City, 6Institute of Medical Science, College of Health Science, Chang Jung Christian University, Guei-Ren, Tainan City, Taiwan

Eucommia bark, Eucommia ulmoides Oliver barks (Du-Zhong in Mandarin), is an herb used for renal dysfunction in Chinese traditional medicine. In an attempt to develop this herb as a treatment for diabetic nephropathy (DN), we investigated the effects of Du-Zhong on renal dysfunction in type 1-like diabetic rats.
Methods: Streptozotocin (STZ) was used to induce type 1-like diabetes in rats (STZ-diabetic rats). In addition to hyperglycemia, STZ-diabetic rats showed significant nephropathy, including higher plasma levels of blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and renal fibrosis. Western blot analysis of renal cortical tissue was applied to characterize the changes in potential signals related to nephropathy.
Results: Oral administration of Du-Zhong (1 g/kg/day) to STZ-diabetic rats for 20 days not only decreased the plasma levels of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine but also improved renal fibrosis, whereas the plasma glucose level was not changed. The higher expressions of protein levels of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) and connective tissue growth factor in diabetic rats were markedly attenuated by Du-Zhong. The increased phosphorylation of Smad2/3 in STZ-diabetic rats was also reduced by Du-Zhong. However, Du-Zhong cannot reverse the hyperglycemia-induced overproduction of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 in the diabetic kidney.
Conclusion: Oral administration of Du-Zhong improves STZ-induced DN in rats by inhibiting TGF-β/Smad signaling and suppressing TGF-β/connective tissue growth factor expression. Therefore, active principle from Du-Zhong is suitable to develop as new agent for DN in the future.

Keywords: diabetic nephropathy, Du-Zhong, transforming growth factor-beta, Smad2/3, connective tissue growth factor, renal dysfunction

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