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Journal of Integrative Medicine

• Original Experimental Research •    

Therapeutic effects of the extract of Sancao Formula, a Chinese herbal compound, on imiquimod-induced psoriasis via cysteine-rich protein 61

Wan-jun Guoa, Yi Wanga, Yu Dengb,c, Lin-yan Chenga, Xin Liua, Ruo-fan Xia, Sheng-jie Zhua, Xin-yi Fenga, Liang Huaa, Kan Zea, Jian-yong Zhud, Dong-jie Guoa,*, Fu-lun Lia,*   

  1. a. Department of Dermatology, Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200437, China
    b. School of Medicine, Chengdu University, Chengdu 610106, Sichuan Province, China
    c. Institute of Cancer Biology and Drug Discovery, Chengdu University, Chengdu 610106, Sichuan Province, China
    d. Clinical Laboratory Medicine Center, Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200437, China
  • Contact: Dong-jie Guo gdongjie.1992@163.com; Fu-lun Li drlifulun@163.com

Objective

Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease that is prone to recurrence, and the proinflammatory factor, cysteine-rich protein 61 (Cyr61), is important in its pathophysiology. Long-term clinical practice has shown that Sancao Formula (SC), a Chinese herbal compound, is effective in the treatment of psoriasis, but the precise mechanism remains unknown. In this study, we investigate the mechanism by which SC extract alleviates imiquimod (IMQ)-induced psoriasis.

Methods

The expression of Cyr61 in psoriatic lesions and normal healthy skin was detected using immunohistochemical analysis to investigate the biological role of Cyr61 in models of psoriatic inflammation. A psoriatic mouse model was established by topical application of IMQ, and the effect of topical application of SC extract was evaluated using the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI) score, hematoxylin-eosin staining, and histopathological features of the skin. Next, a HaCaT cell inflammation model was established using interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and the effect of SC extract on the mRNA and protein levels of Cyr61 and intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) was confirmed using Western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses.

Results

Immunohistochemical staining showed that the expression of Cyr61 in psoriatic lesions was higher than that in normal skin samples (78.26% vs 41.18%, P < 0.05), and the number of Cyr61-positive cells in psoriatic lesions was also significantly higher than in normal skin (18.66 ± 2.51 vs 4.33 ± 1.52, P < 0.05). Treatment in mice with IMQ-induced psoriasis showed that SC extract could significantly improve the inflammatory phenotype, PASI score (10.875 ± 0.744 vs 3.875 ± 0 .582, P < 0.05), and pathological features compared with those in IMQ model group; SC treatment was also associated with decreased levels of Cyr61 and ICAM-1. In the IFN-γ-induced inflammatory cell model, the mRNA and protein levels of Cyr61 and ICAM-1 were upregulated, while the SC extract downregulated the levels of Cyr61 and ICAM-1.

Conclusion

The results provide a theoretical basis for the involvement of Cyr61 in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, and suggest that SC should be used to target Cyr61 for the prevention of psoriasis recurrence.

Key words: Traditional Chinese medicine, Sancao Formula, Psoriasis, Plant extracts, Cysteine-rich protein 61, Intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1

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