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Journal of Integrative Medicine

   

Therapeutic effects of herbal formula Huangqisan on metabolic disorders via SREBF1, SCD1 and AMPK signaling pathway

Ya-lei Liu a, Zhen-yu Zhou a, Min Gao a,b, Guang Ji c, Cheng Huang a, Sheng-jie Fan a   

  1. a School of Pharmacy, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
    b College of Pharmacy, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan 030001, Shanxi Province, China
    c Institute of Digestive Diseases, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China
  • Received:2020-05-08 Accepted:2020-09-30 Published:2020-11-20
  • Contact: Sheng-jie Fan E-mail:shengjiefan@shutcm.edu.cn

Objective
Metabolic syndrome is a complex medical condition that has become an alarming epidemic, but an effective therapy for this disease is still lacking. The use of the herbal formula Huangqisan (HQS) to treat diabetes is documented in the Chinese medical literature as early as 1117 A.D.; however, its therapeutic effects and underlying mechanisms remain elusive.

Methods
To investigate the beneficial effects of HQS on metabolic disorders, high-fat diet-induced obesity (DIO), leptin receptor dysfunction (db/db) and low-density lipoprotein receptor-knockout (LDLR-/-) mice were used. Obese mice were treated with either HQS or vehicle. Blood, liver tissue, white fat tissue and brown adipose tissue were harvested at the end of the treatment. Metabolic disease-related parameters were evaluated to test HQS’s effects against diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidemia. Aortic arches from LDLR-/- mice were analyzed to investigate the effects of HQS on atherosclerosis. RNA-sequence, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot were performed to investigate the mechanisms of HQS against metabolic disorder.

Results
HQS lowered body weight, fasting blood glucose and serum lipid levels and improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in DIO mice and db/db mice (P < 0.05). HQS also blocked atherosclerotic plaque formation in LDLR-/- mice. HQS suppressed de novo lipid synthesis by reducing the expression of messenger RNA for sterol regulatory element-binding factor 1, stearyl coenzyme A desaturase 1 and fatty acid synthase, and enhancing adenosine 5'-monophosphate-activated protein kinase signaling in both in vivo and in vitro experiments, indicating potential mechanisms for HQS’s activity against diabetes.

Conclusion
HQS is effective for reversing metabolic disorder and has the potential to be used as therapy for metabolic syndrome.

Key words: Tradition Chinese medicine, Diabetes, Hyperlipidemia, Obesity, Atherosclerosis

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