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Can acupuncture enhance therapeutic effectiveness of antidepressants and reduce adverse drug reactions in patients with depression? A systematic review and meta-analysis
Ming-min Xu, Pei Guo, Qing-yu Ma, Xuan Zhou, Yu-long Wei, Lu Wang, Yue Chen, Yu Guo
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 305-320.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.05.002
Online available: 14 July 2022

Abstract63)   HTML    PDF      
Some depressed patients receive acupuncture as an adjunct to their conventional medications.

This review aims to provide evidence on whether acupuncture can enhance the therapeutic effectiveness of antidepressants for treating depression, and explore whether acupuncture can reduce the adverse reactions associated with antidepressants.

Search strategy
English and Chinese databases were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published until December 1, 2021.

Inclusion criteria
RCTs with a modified Jadad scale score ≥ 4 were included if they compared a group of participants with depression that received acupuncture combined with antidepressants with a control group that received antidepressants alone.

Data extraction and analysis
Meta-analysis was performed, and statistical heterogeneity was assessed based on Cochran’s Q statistic and its related P-value. Primary outcomes were the reduction in the severity of depression and adverse reactions associated with antidepressants, while secondary outcomes included remission rate, treatment response, social functioning, and change in antidepressant dose. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) framework was used to evaluate the overall quality of evidence in the included studies.

This review included 16 studies (with a total of 1958 participants). Most studies were at high risk of performance bias and at low or unclear risk of selection bias, detection bias, attrition bias, reporting bias, and other bias. Analysis of the 16 RCTs showed that, compared with antidepressants alone, acupuncture along with antidepressants reduced the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-17 (HAMD-17) scores (standard mean difference [SMD] ?0.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] ?0.55 to ?0.33, P < 0.01; I2 = 14%), Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS) scores (SMD ?0.53, 95% CI ?0.84 to ?0.23, P < 0.01; I2 = 79%), and the Side Effect Rating Scale (SERS) scores (SMD ?1.11, 95% CI ?1.56 to ?0.66, P < 0.01; I2 = 89%). Compared with antidepressants alone, acupuncture along with antidepressants improved World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF scores (SMD 0.31, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.44, P < 0.01; I2 = 15%), decreased the number of participants who increased their antidepressant dosages (relative risk [RR] 0.32, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.48, P < 0.01; I2 = 0%), and resulted in significantly higher remission rates (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.26 to 1.83, P < 0.01; I2 = 0%) and treatment responses (RR 1.35, 95% CI 1.24 to 1.47, P < 0.01; I2 = 19%) in terms of HAMD-17 scores. The HAMD-17, SDS and SERS scores were assessed as low quality by GRADE and the other indices as being of moderate quality.

Acupuncture as an adjunct to antidepressants may enhance the therapeutic effectiveness and reduce the adverse drug reactions in patients receiving antidepressants. These findings must be interpreted with caution, as the evidence was of low or moderate quality and there was a lack of comparative data with a placebo control.

Systematic review registration: INPLASY202150008.
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Salvadora persica extract attenuates cyclophosphamide-induced hepatorenal damage by modulating oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis in rats
Talat Albukhari, Bassem Refaat, El-Sayed Bakr, Sameh Baz, Bodour Rajab, Hossam Gadalla, Mohamed El-Boshy
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 348-354.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.05.001
Accepted: 11 November 2021
Online available: 15 July 2022

Objective: Salvadora persica (SP) is used as a food additive and is a common ingredient in folk medicine. This study investigates the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and beneficial effects of SP against cyclophosphamide (CYP) toxicity in rats.
Methods: In a 10-day study, 32 male rats were equally allocated into 4 groups (8 rats/group) as follows: the normal control (NC group), normal rats that only received oral aqueous extract of SP (100 mg/[kg·d]; SP group), animals treated with intraperitoneal CYP injections (30 mg/[kg·d]; CYP group), and the CYP + SP group that concurrently received CYP with SP aqueous extract. Serum samples were collected to measure the liver and renal biochemical profiles, as well as antioxidant and oxidative stress markers and the concentrations of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and adenosine 5’-monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Hepatic and renal tissues were also harvested for histopathology and to measure apoptosis using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling technique, alongside tissue levels of oxidative stress markers.
Results: Liver enzymes, total bilirubin, creatinine and urea, as well as serum IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and NF-κB increased significantly, whilst total protein, albumin, calcium, IL-10 and AMPK declined in serum of the CYP group relative to the NC group. The hepatorenal concentrations of glutathione, glutathione peroxidase and catalase declined markedly in the CYP group, whereas malondialdehyde, protein adducts, and apoptosis index increased compared with the NC group. By contrast, the hepatorenal biochemistry and apoptosis index of the SP group were comparable to the NC group. Interestingly, the CYP + SP group had significant improvements in the liver and renal biochemical parameters, enhanced anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects, and marked declines in hepatic and renal apoptosis relative to the CYP group. Moreover, all monitored parameters were statistically indistinguishable between the CYP + SP group and the NC group.
Conclusion: This study suggests that the aqueous extract of SP could be a potential remedy against CYP-induced hepatorenal damage and may act by modulating the AMPK/NF-κB signaling pathway and promoting anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities.
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Ziyin Huatan Recipe, a Chinese herbal compound, inhibits migration and invasion of gastric cancer by upregulating RUNX3 expression
Shang-jin Song, Xuan Liu, Qing Ji, Da-zhi Sun, Li-juan Xiu, Jing-yu Xu, Xiao-qiang Yue
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 355-364.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.02.006
Online available: 27 February 2022

Abstract106)   HTML    PDF      


Ziyin Huatan recipe (ZYHT), a traditional Chinese medicine comprised of Lilii Bulbus, Pinelliae Rhizoma, and Hedyotis Diffusa, has shown promise in treating gastric cancer (GC) in the clinic. However, its potential mechanism in treating GC has not yet been clearly addressed. This study aimed to predict targets and molecular mechanisms of ZYHT by network pharmacology analysis and to explore the role of ZYHT in GC both in vitro and in vivo.


Targets and molecular mechanisms of ZYHT were predicted via network pharmacology analysis. The effects of ZYHT on the expression of metastasis-associated targets were further validated by western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. To explore the specific molecular mechanisms of ZYHT on migration and invasion, the runt-related transcription factor 3 (RUNX3) gene was knocked out by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/Cas9, and lentiviral vectors were transfected into SGC-7901 cells. Then lung metastasis model of gastric cancer in nude mice was established to explore the anti-metastasis effect of ZYHT. Western blot and immunohistochemistry were used to explore the impact of ZYHT on the expression of metastasis-related proteins with or without RUNX3 gene.


The network pharmacology analysis showed that ZYHT might inhibit focal adhesion, and migration, invasion and metastasis of GC. ZYHT inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of GC cells in vitro via regulating the expression of metastasis-associated targets. Knocking out RUNX3 almost completely reversed the cell phenotypes (migration and invasion) and protein expression levels elicited by ZYHT. In vivo studies showed that ZYHT inhibited the metastasis of GC cells to the lung and prolonged the survival time of nude mice. Knocking out RUNX3 partly reversed the metastasis of GC cells to the lung and the protein expression levels elicited by ZYHT.


ZYHT can e?ectively inhibit the invasion and migration of GC in vitro and in vivo, and its molecular mechanism may relate to the upregulation of RUNX3 expression.

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Filiform needle acupuncture for allergic rhinitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Shi-Hao Du, Wei Guo, Chao Yang, Sheng Chen, Sheng-Nan Guo, Shuo Du, Zhong-Ming Du, Yu-Tong Fei, Ji-Ping Zhao
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 497-513.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.08.004
Accepted: 07 May 2022
Online available: 05 August 2022



Filiform needle acupuncture (FNA), the most classical and widely applied acupuncture method based on traditional Chinese medicine theory, has shown a promising effect in the treatment of allergic rhinitis (AR).


We aim to comprehensively evaluate the efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness, and patient preference of FNA in the treatment of AR by comparing FNA with sham acupuncture, no treatment, and conventional medication.

Search strategy

Eight electronic databases were systematically searched from inception to October 14, 2021. Additional studies were acquired from clinical trial registration platforms and reference lists.

Inclusion criteria

RCTs were included if they compared FNA with either sham acupuncture, no treatment, or conventional medications for AR.

Data extraction and analysis

Two researchers extracted data independently of each other using a predesigned data acquisition form, and results were cross-checked after completion. The primary outcome was symptom score (Total Nasal Symptom Score or Visual Analog Scale), and the secondary outcomes were the AR control questionnaire, quality of life (QoL) score (Different versions of Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaires), medication score (use of rescue medication), mental health score, total IgE, adverse event rate, clinical economic indicators, and patient satisfaction score. Standardized mean difference (SMD) or mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) was used to calculate the effect size for continuous data, while risk ratio with 95% Cis was used for dichotomous data.


Thirty studies were included in this review. Compared with sham acupuncture, FNA significantly reduced the symptom score (SMD: –0.29 [–0.43, –0.15]), AR’s impact on QoL (SMD: –0.23 [–0.37, –0.08]) and medication score (SMD: –0.3 [–0.49, –0.11]). Compared with no treatment, FNA dramatically reduced the symptom score (SMD: –0.8 [–1.2, –0.39]) and AR’s impact on QoL (SMD: –0.82 [–1.13, –0.52]). There were no increased rates of adverse event with FNA compared to sham acupuncture and no treatment. FNA increased patient satisfaction and may be cost-effective. Most pieces of evidence from the above two comparisons were of high confidence. Moreover, FNA significantly outperformed conventional medication in reducing the symptom score (SMD: –0.48 [–0.85, –0.1]) and displayed a lower rate of adverse events, but the quality of evidence was very low.


FNA is an effective and safe intervention for AR and can help with symptom relief, QoL improvement, reducing medication usage, and increasing patient satisfaction. Further studies are needed to verify its cost-effectiveness and superiority over conventional medication and the best therapeutic strategies.

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Qili Qiangxin, a compound herbal medicine formula, alleviates hypoxia-reoxygenation-induced apoptotic and autophagic cell death via suppression of ROS/AMPK/mTOR pathway in vitro
Cai-lian Fana, Wan-jun Caib, Meng-nan Ye, Miao Chen, Yi Dai
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 365-375.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.04.005
Accepted: 07 February 2022
Online available: 15 July 2022

Objective: Qili Qiangxin (QLQX), a compound herbal medicine formula, is used effectively to treat congestive heart failure in China. However, the molecular mechanisms of the cardioprotective effect are still unclear. This study explores the cardioprotective effect and mechanism of QLQX using the hypoxia-reoxygenation (H/R)-induced myocardial injury model.
Methods: The main chemical constituents of QLQX were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography-evaporative light-scattering detection. The model of H/R-induced myocardial injury in H9c2 cells was developed to simulate myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. Apoptosis, autophagy, and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured to assess the protective effect of QLQX. Proteins related to autophagy, apoptosis and signalling pathways were detected using Western blotting.
Results: Apoptosis, autophagy and the excessive production of ROS induced by H/R were significantly reduced after treating the H9c2 cells with QLQX. QLQX treatment at concentrations of 50 and 250 μg/mL caused significant reduction in the levels of LC3II and p62 degradation (P < 0.05), and also suppressed the AMPK/mTOR signalling pathway. Furthermore, the AMPK inhibitor Compound C (at 0.5 μmol/L), and QLQX (250 μg/mL) significantly inhibited H/R-induced autophagy and apoptosis (P < 0.01), while AICAR (an AMPK activator, at 0.5 mmol/L) increased cardiomyocyte apoptosis and autophagy and abolished the anti-apoptotic effect of QLQX. Similar phenomena were also observed on the expressions of apoptotic and autophagic proteins, demonstrating that QLQX reduced the apoptosis and auotophagy in the H/R-induced injury model via inhibiting the AMPK/mTOR pathway. Moreover, ROS scavenger, N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC, at 2.5 mmol/L), significantly reduced H/R-triggered cell apoptosis and autophagy (P < 0.01). Meanwhile, NAC treatment down-regulated the ratio of phosphorylation of AMPK/AMPK (P < 0.01), which showed a similar effect to QLQX.
Conclusion: QLQX plays a cardioprotective role by alleviating apoptotic and autophagic cell death through inhibition of the ROS/AMPK/mTOR signalling pathway.
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Safety of acupotomy in a real-world setting: A prospective pilot and feasibility study
Sang-Hoon Yoon, Chan-Young Kwon, Hee-Geun Jo, Jae-Uk Sul, Hyangsook Lee, Jiyoon Won, Su Jin Jeong, Jun-Hwan Lee, Jungtae Leem
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 514-523.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.08.003
Accepted: 09 July 2021
Online available: 17 August 2022

Abstract92)   HTML    PDF      
Acupotomy is a modern acupuncture method that includes modern surgical methods. Since acupotomy is relatively more invasive than filiform acupuncture treatment, it is important to establish the safety profile of this practice. To justify further large-scale prospective observational studies, this preliminary study was performed to assess the feasibility of the approach and investigate the safety profile and factors potentially associated with adverse events (AEs).

This was a prospective pilot study that assessed the feasibility of a large-scale forthcoming safety study on acupotomy treatment in a real-world setting. The feasibility (call response rate, drop-out rate, response rate for each variable and recruitment per month) and safety profile (incidence, type, severity and causality of AEs, and factors potentially associated with AEs) were measured.

A total of 28 participants joined the study from January to May 2018. A follow-up assessment was achieved in 258 (1185 treatment points) out of 261 sessions (1214 treatment points). The response rate via telephone on the day after treatment was 87.3%. There were 8 systemic AEs in all the sessions (8/258; 3.11%) and 27 local AEs on the total points treated (27/1185; 2.28%). Severe AEs did not occur. Total AE and local AE occurrence were associated with blade width and the number of needle stimulations per treatment point.

The findings suggest that it could be feasible to analyze the safety of acupotomy in a real-world setting. Moreover, the primary data on some relevant AEs could be determined. We are planning large-scale prospective studies based on these findings.
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Appraisal of treatment outcomes in integrative medicine using metabonomics: Taking non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with spleen deficiency syndrome as an example
Liang Dai, Jing-juan Xu, Wen-jun Zhou, Ai-ping Lü, Guang Ji
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 524-533.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.08.002
Accepted: 06 July 2022
Online available: 13 August 2022

Abstract47)   HTML    PDF      
Appraisal of treatment outcomes in integrative medicine is a challenge due to a gap between the concepts of Western medicine (WM) disease and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) syndrome. This study presents an approach for the appraisal of integrative medicine that is based on targeted metabolomics. We use non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with spleen deficiency syndrome as a test case.

A patient-reported outcome (PRO) scale was developed based on literature review, Delphi consensus survey, and reliability and validity test, to quantitatively evaluate spleen deficiency syndrome. Then, a metabonomic foundation for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with spleen deficiency syndrome was identified via a longitudinal interventional trial and targeted metabolomics. Finally, an integrated appraisal model was established by identifying metabolites that responded in the treatment of WM disease and TCM syndrome as positive outcomes and using other aspects of the metabonomic foundation as independent variables.

Ten symptoms and signs were included in the spleen deficiency PRO scale. The internal reliability, content validity, discriminative validity and structural validity of the scale were all qualified. Based on treatment responses to treatments for WM disease (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) or TCM syndrome (spleen deficiency PRO scale score) from a previous randomized controlled trial, two cohorts comprised of 30 participants each were established for targeted metabolomics detection. Twenty-five metabolites were found to be involved in successful treatment outcomes to both WM and TCM, following quantitative comparison and multivariate analysis. Finally, the model of the integrated appraisal system was exploratively established using binary logistic regression; it included 9 core metabolites and had the prediction probability of 83.3%.

This study presented a new and comprehensive research route for integrative appraisal of treatment outcomes for WM disease and TCM syndrome. Critical research techniques used in this research included the development of a TCM syndrome assessment tool, a longitudinal interventional trial with verified TCM treatment, identification of homogeneous metabolites, and statistical modeling.
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Methodology of network pharmacology for research on Chinese herbal medicine against COVID-19: A review
Yi-xuan Wang, Zhen Yang, Wen-xiao Wang, Yu-xi Huang, Qiao Zhang, Jia-jia Li, Yu-ping Tang, Shi-jun Yue
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 477-487.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.09.004
Accepted: 15 August 2022
Online available: 22 September 2022

Abstract69)   HTML    PDF      
Traditional Chinese medicine, as a complementary and alternative medicine, has been practiced for thousands of years in China and possesses remarkable clinical efficacy. Thus, systematic analysis and examination of the mechanistic links between Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) and the complex human body can benefit contemporary understandings by carrying out qualitative and quantitative analysis. With increasing attention, the approach of network pharmacology has begun to unveil the mystery of CHM by constructing the heterogeneous network relationship of “herb-compound-target-pathway,” which corresponds to the holistic mechanisms of CHM. By integrating computational techniques into network pharmacology, the efficiency and accuracy of active compound screening and target fishing have been improved at an unprecedented pace. This review dissects the core innovations to the network pharmacology approach that were developed in the years since 2015 and highlights how this tool has been applied to understanding the coronavirus disease 2019 and refining the clinical use of CHM to combat it.
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Peperomia pellucida (L.) Kunth and eye diseases: A review on phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology
Keat Lam Ho, Phaik Har Yong, Chee Woon Wang, Umah Rani Kuppusamy, Chek Tung Ngo, Festo Massawe, Zhi Xiang Ng
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 292-304.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.02.002
Online available: 21 February 2022

Abstract98)   HTML    PDF      
Peperomia pellucida (L.) Kunth is a medicinal plant used to manage inflammatory illnesses such as conjunctivitis, and gastrointestinal and respiratory tract disorders in tropical and subtropical regions. However, little is known about its pharmacological mechanism of action against eye diseases. This review aims to critically discuss the phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of P. pellucida as well as its roles in the treatment of cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Recent developments in the uses of P. pellucida for healthcare and nutraceutical products by the pharmaceutical industry are also covered in this review. For this review, a literature search was performed with PubMed, ScienceDirect, SciFinder Scholar and Scopus databases, using relevant keywords. Among the various phytochemicals identified from P. pellucida, β-caryophyllene, carotol, dillapiole, ellagic acid, pellucidin A, phytol and vitexin exhibit strong pharmacological activities within the mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-κB signalling pathways in inflammatory eye diseases. The antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihyperglycemic and anti-angiogenic activities displayed by P. pellucida extracts in many in vitroin vivo and clinical studies suggest its potential role in the management of inflammatory eye diseases. P. pellucida extract was non-toxic against normal cell lines but displayed mild toxicity in animal models. The growing public interest in P. pellucida has inspired the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries to process the plant into health products. Although the potential pharmacological mechanisms against eye diseases have been summarized, further studies of the interactions among constituent phytochemicals from P. pellucida within various signalling pathways shall support the use of the plant as an alternative therapeutic source.
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Apoptotic and autophagic death union by Thuja occidentalis homeopathic drug in cervical cancer cells with thujone as the bioactive principle
Asmita Pal, Sucharita Das, Soumalee Basu, Rita Kundu
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 463-472.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.06.004
Online available: 17 June 2022

Abstract80)   HTML    PDF      


‘Multi-targeting’ drugs can prove fruitful to combat drug-resistance of multifactorial disease—cervical cancer. This study envisioned to reveal if Thuja homeopathic mother tincture (MT) and its bioactive component could combat human papillomavirus (HPV)-16-infected SiHa cervical cancer cells since it is globally acclaimed for HPV-mediated warts.


Thuja MT was studied for its antiproliferative and antimigratory properties in SiHa cells followed by microscopic determination of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by 2’,7’-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) staining and loss in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) by rhodamine (Rh) 123 staining. Apoptosis and autophagy inductions were studied by acridine orange (AO) ethidium bromide (EB) staining and immunoblot analyses of marker proteins. The bioactive component of Thuja MT detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was studied for antiproliferative and antimigratory properties along with in silico prediction of its cellular targets by molecular docking and oral drug forming competency.


Thuja MT showed significant antiproliferative and antimigratory potential in SiHa cells at a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) dosage of 17.3 μL/mL. An increase in DCFDA fluorescence and loss in Rh123 fluorescence prove that Thuja MT acted through the burst of ROS and loss in MMP respectively. AO/EB-stained cells under the microscope and immunoblot analyses supported Thuja-induced cellular demise via dual pathways—apoptosis and autophagy. Immunoblots showed cleavage of caspase-3 and poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase-1 (PARP-1) along with upregulation of Beclin-1, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B (LC3B)-II, and p62 proteins. Hence, the apoptotic cascade followed a caspase-3-dependent pathway supported by PARP-1 cleavage, while autophagic death was Beclin-1-dependent and mediated by accumulation of LC3BII and p62 proteins. Thujone, detected as the bioactive principle of Thuja MT showed greater anti-proliferative and anti-migratory potential at an IC50 77 μg/mL along with excellent oral drug competency with the ability for gastrointestinal absorption and blood-brain-barrier permeation with nil toxicity. Molecular docking depicted thujone with the strongest affinity for mammalian target of rapamycin, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, and protein kinase B followed by B-cell lymphoma 2, murine double minute 2 and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, which might act as upstream triggers of apoptotic-autophagic crosstalk. 


Robust ‘multi-targeting’ anticancer potential of Thuja drug and thujone for HPV-infected cervical cancer ascertain its therapeutic efficacy for HPV infections. 

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Analysis of mechanisms of Shenhuang Granule in treating severe COVID-19 based on network pharmacology and molecular docking
Xiang-ru Xu, Wen Zhang, Xin-xin Wu, Hong-qiang Yang, Yu-ting Sun, Yu-ting Pu, Bei Wang, Wei Peng, Li-hua Sun, Quan Guo, Shuang Zhou, Bang-jiang Fang
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 561-574.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.07.005
Accepted: 15 June 2022
Online available: 05 August 2022

Objective: Severe cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are expected to have a worse prognosis than mild cases. Shenhuang Granule (SHG) has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for severe COVID-19 in a previous randomized clinical trial, but the active chemical constituents and underlying mechanisms of action remain unknown. The goal of this study is to explore the chemical basis and mechanisms of SHG in the treatment of severe COVID-19, using network pharmacology.
Methods: Ultraperformance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry was employed to screen chemical constituents of SHG. Putative therapeutic targets were predicted by searching traditional Chinese medicine system pharmacology database and analysis platform, SwissTargetPrediction, and Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) databases. The target protein-protein interaction network and enrichment analysis were performed to investigate the hub genes and presumptive mechanisms. Molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations were used to verify the stability and interaction between the key chemical constituents of SHG and COVID-19 protein targets.
Results: Forty-five chemical constituents of SHG were identified along with 131 corresponding therapeutic targets, including hub genes such as HSP90AA1, MMP9, CXCL8, PTGS2, IFNG, DNMT1, TYMS, MDM2, HDAC3 and ABCB1. Functional enrichment analysis indicated that SHG mainly acted on the neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, calcium signaling pathway and cAMP signaling pathway. Molecular docking showed that the key constituents had a good affinity with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 protein targets. Molecular dynamics simulations indicated that ginsenoside Rg4 formed a stable protein-ligand complex with helicase.
Conclusion: Multiple components of SHG regulated multiple targets to inhibit virus invasion and cytokine storm through several signaling pathways; this provides a scientific basis for clinical applications and further experiments.
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Remission of type 2 diabetes depends on prompt comprehensive lifestyle changes upon diagnosis: How can this “Road to Damascus” experience be supported?
Theocharis Koufakis, Kalliopi Kotsa, Nikolaos Papanas
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 288-291.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.04.001
Online available: 12 April 2022

Abstract81)   HTML    PDF      
Theoretically, a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) requires a dramatic change in an individual’s way of life. Weight loss and physical activity can lead to remission of diabetes, which has been associated with a lower risk of developing complications. Today, the importance of a healthy lifestyle is further highlighted by data showing that obesity and diabetes increase the risk of severe complications from coronavirus disease 2019. However, remission rarely occurs in reality, probably due to the inability of people with T2DM to adhere to the intensive lifestyle interventions that are necessary. The complexity of contributing factors may explain why making these changes is so challenging and underscore the fact that there is no magical solution for T2DM. Instead, hard work from both patients and health care providers is needed for the conversion to be achieved. This article calls for more research on the underlying reasons why adhering to a healthy way of life is so difficult for people with diabetes and obesity. Clearly defining these barriers would facilitate the planning of effective policies to promote the adoption of appropriate lifestyle changes early in the course of the disease.
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Low-level laser acupuncture reduces postoperative pain and morphine consumption in older patients with total knee arthroplasty: A randomized placebo-controlled trial
Chiung-Hui Huang, Mei-Ling Yeh, Fang-Pey Chen, Daphne Wu
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 321-328.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.04.002
Accepted: 24 January 2022
Online available: 09 April 2022

Abstract122)   HTML    PDF      
Patients commonly develop postoperative pain after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Acupuncture-related techniques and low-level laser therapy could be beneficial for pain management for older individuals.

To examine the effect of low-level laser acupuncture (LA) in reducing postoperative pain, pain-related interference in daily life, morphine consumption, and morphine-related side effects in older patients with knee osteoarthritis who underwent TKA.

Design, setting, participants and intervention
A single-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted. Patients (N = 82) were recruited and randomly assigned via a computer-generated list to the LA group or a placebo group. The LA group received low-level laser therapy at Sanyinjiao (SP6), Taixi (KI3), Kunlun (BL60), Fengshi (GB31), Futu (ST32) and Neiguan (PC6) after TKA, while the placebo acupuncture group received the same treatment procedure without laser energy output.

Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was postoperative pain intensity, and it was measured at baseline and hours 2, 6, 10, 24, 48 and 72 after TKA. The secondary outcomes, including relative pain, postoperative pain-related interference in daily life and morphine consumption, were measured at hours 24, 48 and 72 after TKA.

Generalized estimating equations revealed significant between-group differences in pain intensity (P = 0.01), and trend differences in pain intensity for the LA group starting at hours 10 to 72 (P < 0.05) and morphine consumption at hours 48 and 72 (P < 0.05). The changes in pain-related interference in daily life were significant (P < 0.05) at 72 h, with the exception of the parameters for worst pain, mood, and sleep. Nausea and vomiting side effects from morphine had significant between-group differences at hours 10 and 24 (P < 0.05).


Low-level LA gradually reduced older patients’ postoperative pain intensity and morphine consumption within the first 72 h after their TKA for osteoarthritis. Low-level LA may have benefits as an adjuvant pain management technique for clinical care.

Trial registration registration number NCT03995446.

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Examining patterns of traditional chinese medicine use in pediatric oncology: A systematic review, meta-analysis and data-mining study
Chun Sing Lam, Li Wen Peng, Lok Sum Yang, Ho Wing Janessa Chou, Chi-Kong Li, Zhong Zuo, Ho-Kee Koon, Yin Ting Cheung
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 402-415.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.06.003
Accepted: 05 May 2022
Online available: 10 June 2022

Abstract108)   HTML    PDF      
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is becoming a popular complementary approach in pediatric oncology. However, few or no meta-analyses have focused on clinical studies of the use of TCM in pediatric oncology.

We explored the patterns of TCM use and its efficacy in children with cancer, using a systematic review, meta-analysis and data mining study.

Search strategy
We conducted a search of five English (Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, Embase, PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and and four Chinese databases (Wanfang Data, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, and VIP Chinese Science and Technology Periodicals Database) for clinical studies published before October 2021, using keywords related to “pediatric,” “cancer,” and “TCM.”

Inclusion criteria
We included studies which were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or observational clinical studies, focused on patients aged < 19 years old who had been diagnosed with cancer, and included at least one group of subjects receiving TCM treatment.

Data extraction and analysis
The methodological quality of RCTs and observational studies was assessed using the six-item Jadad scale and the Effective Public Healthcare Panacea Project Quality Assessment Tool, respectively. Meta-analysis was used to evaluate the efficacy of combining TCM with chemotherapy. Study outcomes included the treatment response rate and occurrence of cancer-related symptoms. Association rule mining (ARM) was used to investigate the associations among medicinal herbs and patient symptoms.

The fifty-four studies included in this analysis were comprised of RCTs (63.0%) and observational studies (37.0%). Most RCTs focused on hematological malignancies (41.2%). The study outcomes included chemotherapy-induced toxicities (76.5%), infection rate (35.3%), and response, survival or relapse rate (23.5%). The methodological quality of most of the RCTs (82.4%) and observational studies (80.0%) was rated as “moderate.” In studies of leukemia patients, adding TCM to conventional treatment significantly improved the clinical response rate (odds ratio [OR] = 2.55; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.49–4.36), lowered infection rate (OR = 0.23; 95% CI = 0.13–0.40), and reduced nausea and vomiting (OR = 0.13; 95% CI = 0.08–0.23). ARM showed that Radix Astragali, the most commonly used medicinal herb (58.0%), was associated with treating myelosuppression, gastrointestinal complications, and infection.

There is growing evidence that TCM is an effective adjuvant therapy for children with cancer. We proposed a checklist to improve the quality of TCM trials in pediatric oncology. Future work will examine the use of ARM techniques on real-world data to evaluate the efficacy of medicinal herbs and drug-herb interactions in children receiving TCM as a part of integrated cancer therapy.
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Moxibustion regulates T-regulatory/T-helper 17 cell balance by modulating the microRNA-221/suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 axis in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis
Chuang Zhao, Xiao-yan Li, Zun-yuan Li, Miao Li, Zhi-dan Liu
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 453-462.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.06.002
Online available: 15 June 2022

Abstract55)   HTML    PDF      


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) progression is associated with the balance of T-regulatory (Treg) and T-helper 17 (Th17) cells, while the role of microRNAs (miRs) in regulating Treg/Th17 cell balance has not been clarified. This study aimed to assess whether moxibustion could regulate Treg/Th17 cell balance by modulating the miR-221/suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) axis in the RA mouse model.


A mouse model of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) was established in male DBA/1J mice. Twenty-two days after CIA induction, the mice received daily treatment with moxibustion for 12 times. Pathological scores were assessed according to the levels of synovial hyperplasia. The expression levels of cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-17 and IL-10 were analyzed in serum by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4+) splenocytes was analyzed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. The expression levels of RA-related miRs and target genes were subsequently detected, and the target of miR-221 was confirmed by the dual-luciferase reporter assay.


It was revealed that moxibustion treatment decreased the pathological scores and downregulated the expression levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-17, while upregulated the expression level of IL-10. The Treg/Th17 cell balance was regulated by moxibustion treatment. The expression level of miR-221 was suppressed by moxibustion treatment. Furthermore, SOCS3 was found as the direct target of miR-221, which mediated the function of moxibustion by regulating the Treg/Th17 cell balance.


Moxibustion therapy regulated the Treg/Th17 cell balance by modulating the miR-221/SOCS3 axis in the RA mouse model.

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Endocannabinoids are potential inhibitors of glioblastoma multiforme proliferation
Ashraf Duzan, Desiree Reinken, Timothy L. McGomery, Nicholas M. Ferencz, Jacob Plummer, Mufeed M. Basti
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 120-129.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.01.005
Accepted: 14 September 2022
Online available: 02 February 2023

Abstract18)   HTML    PDF      
Globally, it is evident that glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive malignant cancer with a high mortality rate and no effective treatment options. Glioblastoma is classified as the stage-four progression of a glioma tumor, and its diagnosis results in a shortened life expectancy. Treatment options for GBM include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgical intervention, and conventional pharmacotherapy; however, at best, they extend the patient’s life by a maximum of 5 years. GBMs are considered incurable due to their high recurrence rate, despite various aggressive therapeutic approaches which can have many serious adverse effects. Ceramides, classified as endocannabinoids, offer a promising novel therapeutic approach for GBM. Endocannabinoids may enhance the apoptosis of GBM cells but have no effect on normal healthy neural cells. Cannabinoids promote atypical protein kinase C, deactivate fatty acid amide hydrolase enzymes, and activate transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and TRPV2 to induce pro-apoptotic signaling pathways without increasing endogenous cannabinoids. In previous in vivo studies, endocannabinoids, chemically classified as amide formations of oleic and palmitic acids, have been shown to increase the pro-apoptotic activity of human cancer cells and inhibit cell migration and angiogenesis. This review focuses on the biological synthesis and pharmacology of endogenous cannabinoids for the enhancement of cancer cell apoptosis, which have potential as a novel therapy for GBM.
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Efficacy of acupuncture on cardiovascular complications in patients with diabetes mellitus in Korea: A nationwide retrospective cohort
Hyejin Jung, Tiana Won, Ga-Yeon Kim, Jowon Jang, Sujung Yeo, Sabina Lim
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 176-183.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.01.007
Accepted: 18 October 2022
Online available: 02 February 2023

Abstract34)   HTML    PDF      
The main aim of this study is to investigate whether acupuncture could be an effective complementary treatment for reducing the risk of macrovascular complications in diabetic patients currently taking antidiabetic medications using a nationwide population-based database.

We conducted a retrospective cohort study to assess the efficacy of acupuncture on cardiovascular complications in diabetic patients using data from patients between 40 and 79 years of age, newly diagnosed with diabetes between 2003 and 2006, found in the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort (NHIS-NSC) in Korea. From the data, we identified 21,232 diabetic patients who were taking antidiabetic medication between 2003 and 2006. The selected patients were divided into two groups—those who received acupuncture at least three times and those who received no acupuncture (non-acupuncture) in the year following their diagnosis of diabetes. After 1:1 propensity score matching (PSM), each group had 3350 patients, and the observation ceased at the occurrence of a major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE), which was defined as either myocardial infarction, stroke, or death due to cardiovascular cause.

After PSM, the acupuncture group had a lower incidence of MACE (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.81–0.94; P = 0.0003) and all-cause mortality (HR: 0.77; 95% CI: 0.70–0.84; P < 0.0001) than the non-acupuncture group; the HRs for stroke-related mortality (HR: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.56–1.00; P = 0.0485), ischemic heart disease mortality (HR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.34–0.84; P = 0.006) and circulatory system disease mortality (HR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.55–0.82; P < 0.0001) were lower in the acupuncture group than in the non-acupuncture group in the secondary analysis.

Our results indicate that diabetic patients receiving acupuncture treatment might have a lower risk of MACE, all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality. This population-based retrospective study suggests beneficial effects of acupuncture in preventing macrovascular complications associated with diabetes. These findings call for further prospective cohort or experimental studies on acupuncture treatment for cardiovascular complications of diabetes.
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To “tell or not to tell”—Exploring disclosure about medicine use by people living with sleep disorders
Vibha Malhotra, Joanna Harnett, Erica McIntyre, Amie Steel, Keith Wong, Bandana Saini
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 338-347.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.03.004
Online available: 12 April 2022

Abstract59)   HTML    PDF      
Objective: To explore the difference in rates and reasons for disclosure of either conventional or complementary medicine (CM) to healthcare practitioners between people living with sleep disorders (SDs) and those without SDs.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey (N = 2019 adults) that measured sociodemographic characteristics, health status, health service utilisation, health literacy and health communication (medicine disclosure) of a representative sample of Australians was conducted. Data from participants reporting an SD (n = 265) were compared to those not reporting an SD to assess measures of health communication and disclosure about medicine use.
Results: Overall, rates of medicine disclosure to both conventional and CM practitioners were high, in respondents with (70%) and without an SD (57%). Those reporting an SD had higher expectations of their conventional health practitioner’s knowledge of CM, associated clinical decision-making skills, and approval of CM use, and held a higher degree of concern about drug interactions (P < 0.05). The main reasons cited for disclosing CM use to conventional health practitioners and conventional medicine use to CM practitioners were “I want them to fully understand my health status” and “I was concerned about drug interactions with the CMs used.”
Conclusion: The high rate of medicine use disclosure by people with SDs is driven by an intention to inform their healthcare practitioner about their health status and concerns about potential medicine interactions. Therefore, research about the expectations that people with an SD have of their conventional healthcare practitioners’ knowledge of CM and CM-drug interactions requires further examination. Likewise, further examination of CM practitioner’s conventional medicine knowledge is encouraged.
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The scope and potential of music therapy in stroke rehabilitation
Tara Rajendran, Martha Summa-Chadwick
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 284-287.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.04.006
Accepted: 24 April 2022
Online available: 14 July 2022

Abstract62)   HTML    PDF      
There is a growing interest in the use of music therapy in neurological rehabilitation. Of all the major neurological illnesses, stroke rehabilitation has been observed to have some of the strongest potential for music therapy’s beneficial effect. The current burden of stroke has raised the need to embrace novel, cost-effective, rehabilitation designs that will enhance the existing physical, occupation, and speech therapies. Music therapy addresses a broad spectrum of motor, speech, and cognitive deficits, as well as behavioral and emotional issues. Several music therapy designs have focused on gait, cognitive, and speech rehabilitation, but most of the existing randomized controlled trials based on these interventions have a high risk of bias and are statistically insignificant. More randomized controlled trials with greater number of participants are required to strengthen the current data. Fostering an open and informed dialogue between patients, healthcare providers, and music therapists may help increase quality of life, dispel fallacies, and guide patients to specific musical interventions.
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Liver injury and dietary supplements: Does hydroxycitric acid trigger hepatotoxicity?
AndreaZovi, Roberto Langella, Andrea Nisic, Antonio Vitiello, Umberto M. Musazzi
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 473-475.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.05.003
Accepted: 11 May 2022
Online available: 30 May 2022

Abstract75)   HTML    PDF      
Rising rates of obesity has increased the global use of herbal supplements intended to control weight. However, taking these preparations without appropriate medical supervision could increase the risk of manifestation of side effects, especially at the hepatic level. In literature, different cases of acute liver injury consequent to the use of food supplements containing Garcinia cambogia and hydroxycitric acid are reported. This letter aims to review the most recent literature that analysed the herb-induced liver disease due to the use of hydroxycitric acid, from the first alert coming from the European Food and Drug Administration in 2009, to the last recent European food alerts from 2020 to 2021. It is noteworthy that in some cases it demonstrated the relationship between hydroxycitric acid and hepatotoxicity. Therefore, there is a need to draw more attention to the relationship between a safe use and a more awareness in the intake of these supplements, to preserve the safety of the consumers who increasingly purchase food supplements, products that have only nutritive properties and are never curative.
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Momordica charantia fruit extract with antioxidant capacity improves the expression of tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins in epididymal fluid of chronic stress rats
Supatcharee Arun, Therachon Kamollerd, Nareelak Tangsrisakda, Sudtida Bunsueb, Arada Chaiyamoon, Alexander Tsang-Hsien Wu, Sitthichai Iamsaard
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 534-542.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.09.002
Accepted: 06 February 2022
Online available: 22 November 2022

Objective: Although the protective effects of Momordica charantia L. (MC) extract on chemical-induced testicular damage have been studied, the preventive effects of MC extract on functional proteins in the epididymis under chronic stress have never been reported. This study investigated the protective effects of MC fruit extract on protein secretion, especially tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins, in the epididymis of rats exposed to chronic unpredictable stress (CUS).
Methods: Total phenolic compounds (TPC), total flavonoid compounds (TFC) and antioxidant capacities of MC extract were measured. Adult male rats were divided into 4 groups: control group, CUS group, and 2 groups of CUS that received different doses of MC extract (40 or 80 mg/kg). In treated groups, rats were given MC daily, followed by induction of CUS (1 stressor was randomly applied from a battery of 9 potential stressors) for 60 consecutive days. Plasma corticosterone and testosterone levels were analyzed after the end of experiment. Expressions of heat-shock protein 70 (HSP-70) and tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins present in the fluid of the head and tail of the epididymis were quantified using Western blot.
Results: MC extract contained TPC of (19.005 ± 0.270) mg gallic acid equivalents and TFC of (0.306 ± 0.012) mg catechin equivalents per gram, and had 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl antioxidant capacity of (4.985 ± 0.086) mg trolox equivalents per gram, radical half-maximal inhibitory concentration of (2.011 ± 0.008) mg/mL and ferric reducing antioxidant power of (23.697 ± 0.819) μmol Fe(II) per gram. Testosterone level in the epididymis was significantly increased, while the corticosterone level was significantly improved in groups treated with MC extract, compared to the CUS animals. Particularly, an 80 mg/kg dose of MC extract prevented the impairments of HSP-70 and tyrosine-phosphorylated protein expressions in the luminal fluid of the epididymis of CUS rats.
Conclusion: MC fruit extract had antioxidant activities and improved the functional proteins secreted from the head and tail of the epididymis. It is possible to develop the MC fruit extract as a male fertility supplement for enhancing functional sperm maturation in stressed men.
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Fructus Zanthoxyli extract improves glycolipid metabolism disorder of type 2 diabetes mellitus via activation of AMPK/PI3K/Akt pathway: Network pharmacology and experimental validation
Ting Zhang, Qing Zhang, Wei Zheng, Ting Tao, Ruo-lan Li, Li-yu Wang, Wei Peng, Chun-jie Wu
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 543-560.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.07.004
Accepted: 13 May 2022
Online available: 05 August 2022

Objective: This study investigated the potential mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of Fructus Zanthoxyli (FZ) against type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) based on network pharmacology and experimental validation.
Methods: Ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with hybrid quadrupole-orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometry, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry were used to identify the constituents of FZ. Next, the differentially expressed genes linked to the treatment of diabetes with FZ were screened using online databases (including Gene Expression Omnibus database and Swiss Target Prediction online database), and the overlapping genes and their enrichment were analyzed by Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). Finally, the pathway was verified by in vitro experiments, and cell staining with oil red and Nile red showed that the extract of FZ had a therapeutic effect on T2DM.
Results: A total of 43 components were identified from FZ, and 39 differentially expressed overlapping genes were screened as the possible targets of FZ in T2DM. The dug component-target network indicated that PPARA, PPARG, PIK3R3, JAK2 and GPR88 might be the core genes targeted by FZ in the treatment of T2DM. Interestingly, the enrichment analysis of KEGG showed that effects of FZ against T2DM were closely correlated with the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt) signaling pathways. In vitro experiments further confirmed that FZ significantly inhibited palmitic acid-induced lipid formation in HepG2 cells. Moreover, FZ treatment was able to promote the AMPK and PI3K/Akt expressions in HepG2 cells.
Conclusion: Network pharmacology combined with experimental validation revealed that FZ extract can improve the glycolipid metabolism disorder of T2DM via activation of the AMPK/PI3K/Akt pathway.
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Effects of bioactive compounds from Pleurotus mushrooms on COVID-19 risk factors associated with the cardiovascular system
Eduardo Echer dos Reis, Paulo Cavalheiro Schenkel, Marli Camassola
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 385-395.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.07.002
Accepted: 14 December 2021
Online available: 30 August 2022

Mushrooms are a group of fungi with great diversity and ultra-accelerated metabolism. As a consequence, mushrooms have developed a protective mechanism consisting of high concentrations of antioxidants such as selenium, polyphenols, β-glucans, ergothioneine, various vitamins and other bioactive metabolites. The mushrooms of the Pleurotus genus have generated scientific interest due to their therapeutic properties, especially related to risk factors connected to the severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this report, we highlight the therapeutic properties of Pleurotus mushrooms that may be associated with a reduction in the severity of COVID-19: antihypertensive, antihyperlipidemic, antiatherogenic, anticholesterolemic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihyperglycemic properties. These properties may interact significantly with risk factors for COVID-19 severity, and the therapeutic potential of these mushrooms for the treatment or prevention of this disease is evident. Besides this, studies show that regular consumption of Pleurotus species mushrooms or components isolated from their tissues is beneficial for immune health. Pleurotus species mushrooms may have a role in the prevention or treatment of infectious diseases either as food supplements or as sources for pharmacological agents.
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Influence of electroacupuncture on ghrelin and the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B/endothelial nitric oxide synthase signaling pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats
Yue Zhang, Dong-ling Zhong, Ya-ling Zheng, Yu-xi Li, Yi-jie Huang, Yi-jing Jiang, Rong-jiang Jin, Juan Li
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 432-441.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.06.007
Abstract58)   HTML    PDF      
To investigate the influence of electroacupuncture (EA) on ghrelin and the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B/endothelial nitric oxide synthase (PI3K/Akt/eNOS) signaling pathway in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs).
Eight Wistar-Kyoto rats were used as the healthy blood pressure (BP) control (normal group), and 32 SHRs were randomized into model group, EA group, EA plus ghrelin group (EA + G group), and EA plus PF04628935 group (a potent ghrelin receptor blocker; EA + P group) using a random number table. Rats in the normal group and model group did not receive treatment, but were immobilized for 20 min per day, 5 times a week, for 4 continuous weeks. SHRs in the EA group, EA + G group and EA + P group were immobilized and given EA treatment in 20 min sessions, 5 times per week, for 4 weeks. Additionally, 1 h before EA, SHRs in the EA + G group and EA + P group were intraperitoneally injected with ghrelin or PF04628935, respectively, for 4 weeks. The tail-cuff method was used to measure BP. After the 4-week intervention, the rats were sacrificed by cervical dislocation, and pathological morphology of the abdominal aorta was observed using hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to detect the levels of ghrelin, nitric oxide (NO), endothelin-1 (ET-1) and thromboxane A2 (TXA2) in the serum. Isolated thoracic aortic ring experiment was performed to evaluate vasorelaxation. Western blot was used to measure the expression of PI3K, Akt, phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt) and eNOS proteins in the abdominal aorta. Further, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was conducted to measure the relative levels of mRNA expression for PI3K, Akt and eNOS in the abdominal aorta.
EA significantly reduced the systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) (P < 0.05). HE staining showed that EA improved the morphology of the vascular endothelium to some extent. Results of ELISA indicated that higher concentrations of ghrelin and NO, and lower concentrations of ET-1 and TXA2 were present in the EA group (P < 0.05). The isolated thoracic aortic ring experiment demonstrated that the vasodilation capacity of the thoracic aorta increased in the EA group. Results of Western blot and qRT-PCR showed that EA increased the abundance of PI3K, p-Akt/Akt and eNOS proteins, as well as expression levels of PI3K, Akt and eNOS mRNAs (P < 0.05). In the EA + G group, SBP and DBP decreased (P < 0.05), ghrelin concentrations increased (P < 0.05), and the concentrations of ET-1 and TXA2 decreased (P < 0.05), relative to the EA group. In addition, the levels of PI3K and eNOS proteins, the p-Akt/Akt ratio, and the expression of PI3K, Akt and eNOS mRNAs increased significantly in the EA + G group (P < 0.05), while PF04628935 reversed these effects.
EA effectively reduced BP and protected the vascular endothelium, and these effects may be linked to promoting the release of ghrelin and activation of the PI3K/Akt/eNOS signaling pathway.
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Xiaoyao San, a Chinese herbal formula, ameliorates depression-like behavior in mice through the AdipoR1/AMPK/ACC pathway in hypothalamus
Kai-rui Tang, Xiao-wei Mo, Xing-yi Zhou, Yue-yue Chen, Dong-dong Liu, Liang-liang He, Qing-yu Ma, Xiao-juan Li, Jia-xu Chen
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 442-452.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.07.003
Abstract69)   HTML    PDF      


Depression and metabolic disorders have overlapping psychosocial and pathophysiological causes. Current research is focused on the possible role of adiponectin in regulating common biological mechanisms. Xiaoyao San (XYS), a classic Chinese medicine compound, has been widely used in the treatment of depression and can alleviate metabolic disorders such as lipid or glucose metabolism disorders. However, the ability of XYS to ameliorate depression-like behavior as well as metabolic dysfunction in mice and the underlying mechanisms are unclear.


An in vivo animal model of depression was established by chronic social defeat stress (CSDS). XYS and fluoxetine were administered by gavage to the drug intervention group. Depression-like behaviors were analyzed by the social interaction test, open field test, forced swim test, and elevated plus maze test. Glucose levels were measured using the oral glucose tolerance test. The involvement of certain molecules was validated by immunofluorescence, histopathology, and Western blotting. In vitro, hypothalamic primary neurons were exposed to high glucose to induce neuronal damage, and the neuroprotective effect of XYS was evaluated by cell counting kit-8 assay. Immunofluorescence and Western blotting were used to evaluate the influences of XYS on adiponectin receptor 1 (AdipoR1), adenosine 5’-monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC) and other related proteins.


XYS ameliorated CSDS-induced depression-like behaviors and glucose tolerance impairment in mice and increased the level of serum adiponectin. XYS also restored Nissl bodies in hypothalamic neurons in mice that exhibited depression-like behaviors and decreased the degree of neuronal morphological damage. In vivo and in vitro studies indicated that XYS increased the expression of AdipoR1 in hypothalamic neurons.


Adiponectin may be a key regulator linking depression and metabolic disorders;  regulation of the hypothalamic AdipoR1/AMPK/ACC pathway plays an important role in treatment of depression by XYS.

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Potential medicinal plants involved in inhibiting 3CLpro activity: A practical alternate approach to combating COVID-19
Fan Yang, Xiao-lan Jiang, Akash Tariq, Sehrish Sadia, Zeeshan Ahmed, Jordi Sardans, Muhammad Aleem, Riaz Ullah, Rainer W. Bussmann
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 488-496.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.08.001
Accepted: 29 June 2022
Online available: 09 August 2022

Abstract49)   HTML    PDF      
At present, a variety of vaccines have been approved, and existing antiviral drugs are being tested to find an effective treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, no standardized treatment has yet been approved by the World Health Organization. The virally encoded chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which facilitates the replication of SARS-CoV in the host cells, is one potential pharmacological target for the development of anti-SARS drugs. Online search engines, such as Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus and PubMed, were used to retrieve data on the traditional uses of medicinal plants and their inhibitory effects against the SARS-CoV 3CLpro. Various pure compounds, including polyphenols, terpenoids, chalcones, alkaloids, biflavonoids, flavanones, anthraquinones and glycosides, have shown potent inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro activity with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values ranging from 2–44 μg/mL. Interestingly, most of these active compounds, including xanthoangelol E (isolated from Angelica keiskei), dieckol 1 (isolated from Ecklonia cava), amentoflavone (isolated from Torreya nucifera), celastrol, pristimerin, tingenone and iguesterin (isolated from Tripterygium regelii), tannic acid (isolated from Camellia sinensis), and theaflavin-3,3'-digallate, 3-isotheaflavin-3 gallate and dihydrotanshinone I (isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza), had IC50 values of less than 15 μg/mL. Kinetic mechanistic studies of several active compounds revealed that their mode of inhibition was dose-dependent and competitive, with Ki values ranging from 2.4–43.8 μmol/L. Given the significance of plant-based compounds and the many promising results obtained, there is still need to explore the phytochemical and mechanistic potentials of plants and their products. These medicinal plants could serve as an effective inexpensive nutraceutical for the general public to help manage COVID-19.
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The use of melittin to enhance transgene expression mediated by recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 2 vectors both in vitro and in vivo
Yi-lin Xie, Ji-yao Wang, Yun He, Xiao-min Yu, Qing-yun Zheng, Chen Ling, Xi-lin Feng, Li-qing Zhu
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (1): 106-116.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.10.003
Accepted: 26 June 2022
Online available: 14 October 2022

Objective: Melittin, a cell-penetrating peptide, improves the efficiency of many non-viral gene delivery vectors, yet its application in viral vectors has not been well studied. The non-pathogenic recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector is an ideal in vivo gene delivery vector. However, its full potential will only be achieved after improvement of its transduction efficiency. To improve the transduction efficiency of rAAV2 vectors, we attempted to develop a melittin-based rAAV2 vector delivery strategy.
Methods: The melittin peptide was inserted into the rAAV2 capsid either in the loop VIII of all viral proteins (VPs) or at the N terminus of VP2. Various rAAV2-gfp or -fluc vectors were subjected to quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot assays to determine their titers and integrity of capsid proteins, respectively. Alternatively, the vectors based on wild-type capsid were pre-incubated with melittin, followed by transduction of cultured cells or tail vein administration of the mixture to C57BL/6 and BALB/c nude mice. In vivo bioluminescence imaging was performed to evaluate the transgene expression.
Results: rAAV2 vectors with melittin peptide inserted in the loop VIII of VPs had low transduction efficiency, probably due to dramatically reduced ability to bind to the target cells. Fusing the melittin peptide at the N-terminus of VP2 produced vectors without the VP2 subunit. Interestingly, among the commonly used rAAV vectors, pre-incubation of rAAV2 and rAAV6 vectors with melittin significantly enhanced their transduction efficiency in HEK293 and Huh7 cells in vitro. Melittin also had the ability to increase the rAAV2-mediated transgene expression in mouse liver in vivo. Mechanistically, melittin did not change the vector-receptor interaction. Moreover, cell counting kit-8 assays of cultured cells and serum transaminase levels indicated melittin had little cytotoxicity.
Conclusion: Pre-incubation with melittin, but not insertion of melittin into the rAAV2 capsid, significantly enhanced rAAV2-mediated transgene expression. Although further in vivo evaluations are required, this research not only expands the pharmacological potential of melittin, but also provides a new strategy to improve gene therapy mediated by rAAV vectors.
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Shanghai expert consensus on clinical protocol for traditional Chinese medicine treatment of COVID-19 among the elderly population (second edition)
Xuan Chen, Chou-ping Han, Wei Zhang on behalf of Writing Group of the Shanghai Expert Consensus on Clinical Protocol for Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment of COVID- among the Elderly Population (Second Edition)
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 427-431.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.06.001
Online available: 10 June 2022

Abstract146)   HTML    PDF      
This document is the revised edition of the previously issued Shanghai Expert Consensus on Clinical Protocol for Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment of COVID-19 among the Elderly Population. Based on the clinical experience and the Protocol for Diagnosis and Treatment of COVID-19 (Trial 9th Edition), this revised edition provides treatment approaches and recommendations to proactively cope with Omicron variant and increase the therapeutic efficacy for coronavirus disease 2019 among the elderly population in Shanghai, China.
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Pharmacological action of quercetin against testicular dysfunction: A mini review
Damilare E. Rotimi, Tomilola D. Olaolu, Oluyomi S. Adeyemi
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 396-401.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.07.001
Accepted: 10 May 2022
Online available: 05 August 2022

The testis is an immune-privileged organ susceptible to oxidative stress and inflammation, two major factors implicated in male infertility. A reduction in the concentration and activities of testicular function biomarkers has been shown to correlate with impaired hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis and oxidative stress. However, the use of natural products to ameliorate these oxidative stress-induced changes may be essential to improving male reproductive function. Quercetin possesses several pharmacological activities that may help to combat cellular reproduction-related assaults, such as altered sperm function and reproductive hormone dysfunction, and dysregulated testicular apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Studies have shown that quercetin ameliorates testicular toxicity, largely by inhibiting the generation of reactive oxygen species, with the aid of the two antioxidant pharmacophores present in its ring structure. The radical-scavenging property of quercetin may alter signal transduction of oxidative stress-induced apoptosis, prevent inflammation, and increase sperm quality in relation to the hormonal concentration. In this review, the therapeutic potential of quercetin in mediating male reproductive health is discussed.
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Traditional Chinese medicine treatment for COVID-19: An overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Han-ting Wu, Cong-hua Ji, Rong-chen Dai, Pei-jie Hei, Juan Liang, Xia-qiu Wu, Qiu-shuang Li, Jun-chao Yang, Wei Maob, Qing Guo
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 416-426.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.06.006
Accepted: 06 May 2022
Online available: 05 August 2022

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a rapidly spreading disease that has caused an extensive burden to the world. Consequently, a large number of clinical trials have examined the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for treating and preventing COVID-19, with coinciding proliferation of reviews summarizing these studies.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the methodological quality and evidence quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the efficacy of TCM.
Search strategy: Seven electronic databases, including PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chongqing VIP, Wanfang Data and SinoMed, were searched for systematic reviews and meta-analyses in October 2021. Search terms such as “Chinese medicine,” “Lianhua Qingwen” and “COVID-19” were used.
Inclusion criteria: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials that evaluated the efficacy of TCM treatment of COVID-19 were included.
Data extraction and analysis: A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews Version 2.0 (AMSTAR 2) was used to evaluate the methodological quality. The quality of evidence was graded using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system. Data extraction and analysis were performed by two reviewers independently.
Results: There were 17 meta-analyses included in our overview. The intervention group was defined as TCM combined with Western medicine, while the control group was Western medicine alone. The methodological quality of all the included studies was moderate to poor. A total of 89 outcome indicators were evaluated, of which, 8 were rated as moderate quality, 39 as low quality, and 41 as very low quality. Only one outcome measure was graded as being of high quality. The moderate quality of evidence indicated that, for the treatment of COVID-19, the clinical efficacy of TCM in combination with Western medicine was better, in terms of lung recovery, rate of conversion to severe/critical cases, symptom scores, duration of symptoms, mortality, and length of hospital stay.
Conclusion: Evidence from the included studies shows that, compared with conventional Western medical therapy alone, the addition of TCM to COVID-19 treatment may improve clinical outcomes. Overall, the quality of evidence of TCM for COVID-19 was moderate to poor. Meta-analyses of the use of TCM in the treatment of COVID-19 can be used for clinical decision making by accounting for the experiences of clinical experts, medical policies, and other factors.
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Using a consensus acupoints regimen to explore the relationship between acupuncture sensation and lumbar spinal postoperative analgesia: A retrospective analysis of prospective clinical cooperation
Yen-Lin Chao, Yi-Ai Rau, Hong-Sheng Shiue, Jiun-Lin Yan, Yuan-Yun Tang, Shao-Wen Yu, Bo-Yan Yeh, Yen-Lung Chen, Tsung-Hsien Yang, Shu-Chen Cheng, Yi-Wen Hsieh, Hsin-Chia Huang, Fu-Kuang Tsai, Yu-Sheng Chen, Geng-Hao Liu
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 329-337.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.04.003
Accepted: 31 January 2022
Online available: 12 April 2022

Abstract70)   HTML    PDF      
This study evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment on postoperative pain in patients with degenerative lumbar spine disease, and explored the relationship between the postoperative analgesic effect of acupuncture and the sensation of acupuncture experienced by the patients.

This retrospective study analyzed the medical records of 97 patients who had undergone an operation by the same surgeon due to degenerative lumbar disease. These patients were divided into acupuncture group (n = 32), patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) group (n = 27), and oral analgesia group (n = 38) according to the different postoperative analgesic methods. During their hospitalization, patients completed daily evaluations of their pain using a visual analogue scale (VAS), and injection times of supplemental meperidine were recorded. Also, the Chinese version of the Massachusetts General Hospital Acupuncture Sensation Scale (C-MASS) was used in the acupuncture group.

Each of the three treatment groups showed significant reductions in postoperative pain, as shown by reduced VAS scores. The acupuncture group, however, had less rebound pain (P < 0.05) than the other two groups. Both the acupuncture and PCA groups experienced acute analgesic effects that were superior to those in the oral analgesia group. In addition, the higher the C-MASS index on the second day after surgery, the lower the VAS score on the fourth day after surgery. There was also a significant difference in the “dull pain” in the acupuncture sensation.

The results demonstrated that acupuncture was beneficial for postoperative pain and discomfort after simple surgery for degenerative spinal disease. It is worth noting that there was a disproportionate relevance between the patient’s acupuncture sensation and the improvement of pain VAS score.

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Therapeutic effects of the extract of Sancao Formula, a Chinese herbal compound, on imiquimod-induced psoriasis via cysteine-rich protein 61
Wan-jun Guo, Yi Wang, Yu Deng, Lin-yan Cheng, Xin Liu, Ruo-fan Xi, Sheng-jie Zhu, Xin-yi Feng, Liang Hua, Kan Ze, Jian-yong Zhu, Dong-jie Guo, Fu-lun Li
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 376-384.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.04.004
Online available: 26 April 2022

Abstract95)   HTML    PDF      


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.


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.


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.


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.

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Huangqi Decoction, a compound Chinese herbal medicine, inhibits the proliferation and activation of hepatic stellate cells by regulating the long noncoding RNA-C18orf26-1/microRNA-663a/transforming growth factor-β axis
Ben-sheng Dong, Fu-qun Liu, Wen-na Yang, Xiao-dong Li, Miao-juan Shi, Mao-rong Li, Xiu-li Yan, Hui Zhang
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (1): 47-61.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.11.002
Accepted: 31 October 2022
Online available: 23 January 2023



Huangqi Decoction (HQD), a classical traditional Chinese medicine formula, has been used as a valid treatment for alleviating liver fibrosis; however, the underlying molecular mechanism is still unknown. Although our previous studies showed that microRNA-663a (miR-663a) suppresses the proliferation and activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and the transforming growth factor-β/small mothers against decapentaplegic (TGF-β/Smad) pathway, whether long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in HSC activation via the miR-663a/TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway has not yet reported. The present study aimed to investigate the roles of lncRNA lnc-C18orf26-1 in the activation of HSCs and the mechanism by which HQD inhibits hepatic fibrosis.


The expression levels of lnc-C18orf26-1, miR-663a and related genes were measured by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. HSCs were transfected with the miR-663a mimic or inhibitor and lnc-C18orf26-1 small interfering RNAs. The water-soluble tetrazolium salt-1 assay was used to assess the proliferation rate of HSCs. Changes in lncRNA expression were evaluated in miR-663a-overexpressing HSCs by using microarray to identify miR-663a-regulated lncRNAs. RNA hybrid was used to predict the potential miR-663a binding sites on lncRNAs. Luciferase reporter assays further confirmed the interaction between miR-663a and the lncRNA. The expression levels of collagen α-2(I) chain (COL1A2), α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway-related proteins were determined using Western blotting.


Lnc-C18orf26-1 was upregulated in TGF-β1-activated HSCs and competitively bound to miR-663a. Knockdown of lnc-C18orf26-1 inhibited HSC proliferation and activation, downregulated TGF-β1-stimulated α-SMA and COL1A2 expression, and inhibited the TGF-β1/Smad signaling pathway. HQD suppressed the proliferation and activation of HSCs. HQD increased miR-663a expression and decreased lnc-C18orf26-1 expression in HSCs. Further studies showed that HQD inhibited the expression of COL1A2, α-SMA, TGF-β1, TGF-β type I receptor (TGF-βRI) and phosphorylated Smad2 (p-Smad2) in HSCs, and these effects were reversed by miR-663a inhibitor treatment.


Our study identified lnc-C18orf26-1 and miR-663a as promising therapeutic targets for hepatic fibrosis. HQD inhibits HSC proliferation and activation at least partially by regulating the lnc-C18orf26-1/miR-663a/TGF-β1/TGF-βRI/p-Smad2 axis.

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Genome-wide analysis of AP2/ERF superfamily in Isatis indigotica
Liang Xiao, Jun-ze Ren, Qing Li, Bin Yang, Zhen-jiang Liu, Rui-bing Chen, Lei Zhang
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (1): 77-88.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.09.003
Accepted: 09 May 2022
Online available: 01 March 2023

Abstract10)   HTML    PDF      


AP2/ERF (APETALA2/ethylene-responsive factor) superfamily is one of the largest gene families in plants and has been reported to participate in various biological processes, such as the regulation of biosynthesis of active lignan. However, few studies have investigated the genome-wide role of the AP2/ERF superfamily in Isatis indigotica. This study establishes a complete picture of the AP2/ERF superfamily in I. indigotica and contributes valuable information for further functional characterization of IiAP2/ERF genes and supports further metabolic engineering.


To identify the IiAP2/ERF superfamily genes, the AP2/ERF sequences from Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica rapa were used as query sequences in the basic local alignment search tool. Bioinformatic analyses were conducted to investigate the protein structure, motif composition, chromosome location, phylogenetic relationship, and interaction network of the IiAP2/ERF superfamily genes. The accuracy of omics data was verified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and heatmap analyses.


One hundred and twenty-six putative IiAP2/ERF genes in total were identified from the I. indigotica genome database in this study. By sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis, the IiAP2/ERF genes were classified into 5 groups including AP2ERFDREB (dehydration-responsive element-binding factor), Soloist and RAV (related to abscisic acid insensitive 3/viviparous 1) subfamilies. Among which, 122 members were unevenly distributed across seven chromosomes. Sequence alignment showed that I. indigotica and A. thaliana had 30 pairs of orthologous genes, and we constructed their interaction network. The comprehensive analysis of gene expression pattern in different tissues suggested that these genes may play a significant role in organ growth and development of I. indigotica. Members that may regulate lignan biosynthesis in roots were also preliminarily identified. Ribonucleic acid sequencing analysis revealed that the expression of 76 IiAP2/ERF genes were up- or down-regulated under salt or drought treatment, among which, 33 IiAP2/ERF genes were regulated by both stresses.


This study undertook a genome-wide characterization of the AP2/ERF superfamily in I. indigotica, providing valuable information for further functional characterization of IiAP2/ERF genes and discovery of genetic targets for metabolic engineering.

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Integrated therapeutic plasma exchange and traditional Chinese medicine treatment in a patient with severe COVID-19: A case report
Chia-Wei Lin, Wei-Chen Hsu, Chien-Lu Lu, Su-Hsing Cheng, Cheng-Pin Chen, Yu-Chang Hou
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (6): 575-580.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.09.001
Accepted: 06 February 2022
Online available: 22 November 2022

This report presents the case of a 59-year-old man with severe COVID-19 that gradually progressed to cytokine release syndrome and then acute respiratory distress syndrome; he was successfully treated via integration of therapeutic plasma exchange and traditional Chinese medicine. The patient initially presented with a sore throat, severe muscle aches, productive cough and fever. On the worsening of symptoms, remdesivir was administered. However, as the symptoms continued to worsen and a cytokine release syndrome was suspected, oxygen was provided through a high-flow nasal cannula (50 L/min) and therapeutic plasma exchange was performed to prevent worsening of the acute respiratory distress syndrome. On the same day, a course of traditional Chinese medicine was introduced in consultation with the infectious house staff. The patient’s symptoms gradually improved; the levels of C-reactive protein and D-dimers reduced, and the patient was weaned to a simple oxygen mask and eventually to room air. This is the first reported case of the integration of these treatments. Together, they prevented the patient from requiring intubation, played a role in cytokine management, and also improved the clinical symptoms, including productive purulent sputum, cough, frequent stool passage and intermittent fever, with no adverse effects. As a result, the patient was discharged within two weeks of the integration of these treatments. Therefore, the integration of therapeutic plasma exchange and traditional Chinese medicine is an effective therapy for patients with severe COVID-19.
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Effects of physical rehabilitation interventions in COVID-19 patients following discharge from hospital: A systematic review
Masoud Rahmati, Mahdieh Molanouri Shamsi, Wongi Woo, Ai Koyanagi, Seung Won Lee, Dong Keon Yon, Jae Il Shin, Lee Smith
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 149-158.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.01.003
Accepted: 25 September 2022
Online available: 20 January 2023

Abstract21)   HTML    PDF      
Background: Hospitalized patients recovering from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may experience disability and suffer from significant physical and mental impairment requiring physical rehabilitation following their discharge. However, to date, no attempt has been made to collate and synthesize literature in this area.

Objective: This systematic review examines the outcomes of different physical rehabilitation interventions tested in COVID-19 patients who were discharged from hospital.

Search strategy: A systematic search of MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus and medRxiv was conducted to identify articles published up to March 2022.

Inclusion criteria: This systematic review included studies of outpatient rehabilitation programs for people recovering from COVID-19 who received physical activity, exercise, or breathing training to enhance or restore functional capacity, pulmonary function, quality of life, and mental health or function.

Data extraction and analysis: Selection of included articles, data extraction, and methodological quality assessments were conducted by two review authors respectively, and consensus was reached through discussion and consultation with a third reviewer. Finally, we review the outcomes of studies based on four categories including: (1) functional capacity, (2) pulmonary function, (3) quality of life, and (4) mental health status.

Results: A total of 7534 titles and abstracts were screened; 10 cohort studies, 4 randomized controlled trials and 13 other prospective studies involving 1583 patients were included in our review. Early physical rehabilitation interventions applied in COVID-19 patients who were discharged from the hospital improved multiple parameters related to functional capacity, pulmonary function, quality of life and mental health status.

Conclusion: Physical rehabilitation interventions may be safe, feasible and effective in COVID-19 patients discharged from the hospital, and can improve a variety of clinically relevant outcomes. Further studies are warranted to determine the underlying mechanisms.
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Understanding health literacy from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective
Zhiyi Qian, Grace Y. Wang, Marcus Henning, Yan Chen
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (3): 215-220.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.03.001
Accepted: 19 January 2023
Online available: 04 March 2023

Abstract23)   HTML    PDF      
Health literacy is critical to improving individual and public health. However, indigenous perceptions of health are largely absent from Western-derived measurements, contributing to disparities in health outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous populations. China is the country with the world’s largest population and only officially introduced the term “health literacy” in 2008. Current measures of health literacy in China are primarily based on Western-derived constructs, which have been shown to have poor comparability to the unique dual medical system in China. Given its significant importance to health management globally, understanding health perceptions from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective is essential. This review explores the concept and core elements of indigenous health literacy, evaluates the existing definitions and measurement tools as applied to the concept, and proposes a new model of traditional Chinese medicine health literacy.
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A review of patent literature on the regulation of glucose metabolism by six phytocompounds in the management of diabetes mellitus and its complications
Anusree DasNandy, Rajashri Virge, Harsha V. Hegde, Debprasad Chattopadhyay
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (3): 226-235.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.02.003
Accepted: 28 September 2022
Online available: 28 February 2023

Abstract16)   HTML    PDF      
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease, typified by hyperglycemia resulting from failures in complex multifactorial metabolic functions, that requires life-long medication. Prolonged uncontrolled hyperglycemia leads to micro- and macro-vascular complications. Although antidiabetic drugs are prescribed as the first-line treatment, many of them lose efficacy over time or have severe side effects. There is a lack of in-depth study on the patents filed concerning the use of natural compounds to manage diabetes. Thus, this patent analysis provides a comprehensive report on the antidiabetic therapeutic activity of 6 phytocompounds when taken alone or in combinations. Four patent databases were searched, and 17,649 patents filed between 2001 and 2021 were retrieved. Of these, 139 patents for antidiabetic therapeutic aids that included berberine, curcumin, gingerol, gymnemic acid, gymnemagenin and mangiferin were analyzed. The results showed that these compounds alone or in combinations, targeting acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase 2, serine/threonine protein kinase, α-amylase, α-glucosidase, lipooxygenase, phosphorylase, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ), protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B, PPARγ co-activator-1α, phosphoinositide 3-kinase and protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 3C, could regulate glucose metabolism which are validated by pharmacological rationale. Synergism, or combination therapy, including different phytocompounds and plant extracts, has been studied extensively and found effective, whereas the efficacy of commercial drugs in combination with phytocompounds has not been studied in detail. Curcumin, gymnemic acid and mangiferin were found to be effective against diabetes-related complications.
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Treatment duration of wrist-ankle acupuncture for relieving post-thyroidectomy pain: A randomized controlled trial
Xin-rui Han, Wei Yue, Hui-chao Chen, Wei He, Jiang-he Luo, Shan-xia Chen, Na Liu, Ming Yang
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 168-175.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.02.001
Accepted: 10 October 2022
Online available: 02 February 2023

Abstract32)   HTML    PDF      
Treatment duration of wrist-ankle acupuncture (WAA) is uncertain for post-thyroidectomy pain relief.

This study evaluated the effect of different WAA treatment duration on post-operative pain relief and other discomforts associated with thyroidectomy.

Design, setting, participants and intervention
This randomized controlled trial was conducted at a single research site in Guangzhou, China. A total of 132 patients receiving thyroidectomy were randomly divided into the control group (sham WAA, 30 min) and three intervention groups (group 1: WAA, 30 min; group 2: WAA, 45 min; group 3: WAA, 60 min), with group allocation ratio of 1:1:1:1. Acupuncture was administered within 1 hour of leaving the operating room.

Outcomes and measures
Primary outcome was patients’ pain at the surgical site assessed by visual analogue scale (VAS) at the moment after acupuncture treatment (post-intervention). Secondary outcomes included the patients’ pain VAS scores at 6, 12, 24, 48 and 72 h after the thyroidectomy, the 40-item Quality of Recovery (QoR-40) score, the grade of post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV), and the use of additional analgesic therapy.

The adjusted mean difference (AMD) in VAS scores from baseline to post-intervention in group 1 was 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 0.76). The decrease in VAS score at post-intervention was statistically significant in group 1 compared to the control group (AMD, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.28; P < 0.001), and in groups 2 and 3 compared to group 1 (group 2 vs group 1: AMD, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.48; P < 0.001; group 3 vs group 1: AMD, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.86 to 0.47; P < 0.001). The VAS scores in the four groups converged beyond 24 h after the operation. Fewer patients in group 2 and group 3 experienced PONV in the first 24 h after operation. No statistical differences were measured in QoR-40 score and the number of patients with additional analgesic therapy.

Compared with the 30 min intervention, WAA treatment with longer needle retention time (45 or 60 min) had an advantage in pain relief within 6 h after surgery. WAA’s analgesic effect lasted for 6–12 h post-operatively.
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Addressing the need for personalizing music therapy in integrative oncology
Tara Rajendran
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (4): 281-283.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.01.005
Accepted: 15 December 2021
Online available: 17 January 2022

Abstract84)   HTML    PDF      
Music therapy is an integrative oncology practice that has been rapidly emerging, over the past two decades, as a field of its own, clinically and academically. The randomized controlled trials that evaluate the clinical impact of music therapy are growing in number, and at the same time, there has been progress in understanding the neurobiological mechanisms that underly the beneficial effects of music therapy. Cultural background and autobiographical memories may uniquely influence music perception and cognition. It is vital to personalize music therapy because music preferences are unique; one size does not fit all. Cognitive music science studies and clinical music therapy trials that study individualized music choices will serve as a vital step forward in providing patient-directed personalized integrative cancer care. The field of music therapy is advancing, and its ability to improve a patient’s quality of life can be understood only through robust, personalized, evidence-based initiatives that focus on research, advocacy, education, and delivery of care.
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COVID-19: Reducing the risk via diet and lifestyle
Jessica L. Campbell
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (1): 1-16.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.10.001
Accepted: 08 March 2022
Online available: 15 July 2022

Abstract37)   HTML    PDF      
This review shows that relatively simple changes to diet and lifestyle can significantly, and rapidly, reduce the risks associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in terms of infection risk, severity of disease, and even disease-related mortality. A wide range of interventions including regular exercise, adequate sleep, plant-based diets, maintenance of healthy weight, dietary supplementation, and time in nature have each been shown to have beneficial effects for supporting more positive health outcomes with COVID-19, in addition to promoting better overall health. This paper brings together literature from these areas and presents the argument that non-pharmaceutical approaches should not be overlooked in our response to COVID-19. It is noted that, in several cases, interventions discussed result in risk reductions equivalent to, or even greater than, those associated with currently available vaccines. Where the balance of evidence suggests benefits, and the risk is minimal to none, it is suggested that communicating the power of individual actions to the public becomes morally imperative. Further, many lives could be saved, and many harms from the vaccine mandates avoided, if we were willing to embrace this lifestyle-centred approach in our efforts to deal with COVID-19.
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Muscle energy technique for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a feasibility study
Danielle A. Baxter, Meaghan E. Coyle, Catherine J Hill, Christopher Worsnop, Johannah L. Shergis
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (3): 245-253.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.03.006
Accepted: 28 October 2022
Online available: 14 April 2023

Abstract18)   HTML    PDF      


This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of implementing a manual therapy technique (muscle energy technique, MET) protocol in a hospital pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program for patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Participants aged 40 years and over, with moderate to severe COPD, were recruited into this 12-week study. The primary outcome measures were feasibility (acceptability of the intervention and attendance/adherence to the trial) and safety (adverse events, AEs). All participants received the MET and PR therapies. Participants and assessors were unblinded. Semi-standardized MET was delivered on 6 occasions (a maximum of once per week) at the hospital directly before a PR session. Participants undertook PR sessions as per the hospital program at a frequency of two days per week for 8 weeks. Participants were contacted 4 weeks after their final MET treatment via a telephone call to assess acceptability of the intervention.


Thirty-three participants were enrolled, with a median age of 74 years (range 45–89 years). The median number of MET sessions that participants attended was 5 (range 0–6) out of a possible 6 sessions (83% attendance). At follow-up, participants overwhelmingly enjoyed the MET treatment with some subjectively reporting improved breathing. There were no major AEs related to the intervention, with the majority of AEs classified as expected events related to COPD exacerbations.


It is feasible to implement a manual therapy protocol using MET as an adjunct to PR in a hospital setting. Recruitment rates were satisfactory and there were no AEs related to the MET component of the intervention.

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COVID-19 and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors from plant origin
Reza Gharebaghi, Fatemeh Heidary
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2022, 20 (5): 476-476.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.06.005
Accepted: 05 June 2022
Online available: 19 August 2022

Abstract42)   HTML    PDF      
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Nano-ayurvedic medicine and its potential in cancer treatment
Manu Lopus
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 117-119.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.12.001
Accepted: 14 November 2022
Online available: 02 January 2023

Abstract27)   HTML    PDF      
Nano-ayurvedic medicine is an emerging field in which nanoparticles are functionalized with active principles of potent ayurvedic herbs to enhance their efficacy and target-specific delivery. Scientific advances in the past couple of decades have revealed the molecular mechanisms behind the anticancer potential of several ayurvedic herbs, attributed chiefly to their polyphenols. With the advancement of nanotechnology, it has been established that size-, shape-, and surface-chemistry-optimized nanoparticles can be utilized as synergizing carriers for these polyphenols. Nano-ayurvedic medicine utilizes ayurvedic herbs to functionalize different nanoparticles and enhance their potency. Studies have shown that the active polyphenols of such herbs can be coated onto the nanoparticles of different metals, such as gold, and that they work more efficiently than the free herbal extract in inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. Recently, an Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH)-based clinical trial in humans indicated the anticancer potential of such formulations. Nano-ayurvedic medicine is emerging as a potential treatment option for hyperproliferative diseases.

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In vitro and in vivo anticancer potential and molecular targets of the new colchicine analog IIIM-067
Sumera Malik, Mubashir J. Mintoo, Chilakala Nagarjuna Reddy, Rajesh Kumar, Pankul Kotwal, Sandip B. Bharate, Utpal Nandi, Dilip M. Mondhe, Sanket K. Shukla
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (1): 62-76.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.09.006
Accepted: 14 June 2022
Online available: 30 September 2022

Abstract22)   HTML    PDF      
Objective: The current study evaluated various new colchicine analogs for their anticancer activity and to study the primary mechanism of apoptosis and in vivo antitumor activity of the analogs with selective anticancer properties and minimal toxicity to normal cells.
Methods: Sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay was used to screen various colchicine analogs for their in vitro cytotoxicity. The effect of N-[(7S)-1,2,3-trimethoxy-9-oxo-10-(pyrrolidine-1-yl)5,6,7,9-tetrahydrobenzo[a] heptalene-7-yl] acetamide (IIIM-067) on clonogenicity, apoptotic induction, and invasiveness of A549 cells was determined using a clonogenic assay, scratch assay, and staining with 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) and annexin V/ propidium iodide. Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were observed using fluorescence microscopy. Western blot analysis was used to quantify expression of proteins involved in apoptosis, cell cycle, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Pharmacokinetic and in vivo efficacy studies against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) and Ehrlich solid tumor models were conducted using Swiss albino mice.
Results: IIIM-067 showed potent cytotoxicity and better selectivity than all other colchicine analogs screened in this study. The selective activity of IIIM-067 toward A549 cells was higher among other cancer cell lines, with a selectivity index (SI) value of 2.28. IIIM-067 demonstrated concentration- and time-dependent cytotoxicity against A549 cells with half-maximal inhibitory concentration values of 0.207, 0.150 and 0.106 μmol/L at 24, 48 and 72 h, respectively. It also had reduced toxicity to normal cells (SI > 1) than the parent compound colchicine (SI = 1). IIIM-067 reduced the clonogenic ability of A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. IIIM-067 enhanced ROS production from 24.6% at 0.05 μmol/L to 82.1% at 0.4 μmol/L and substantially decreased the MMP (100% in control to 5.6% at 0.4 μmol/L). The annexin V-FITC assay demonstrated 78% apoptosis at 0.4 μmol/L. IIIM-067 significantly (P < 0.5) induced the expression of various intrinsic apoptotic pathway proteins, and it differentially regulated the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. Furthermore, IIIM-067 exhibited remarkable in vivo anticancer activity against the murine EAC model, with tumor growth inhibition (TGI) of 67.0% at a dose of 6 mg/kg (i.p.) and a reduced mortality compared to colchicine. IIIM-067 also effectively inhibited the tumor growth in the murine solid tumor model with TGI rates of 48.10%, 55.68% and 44.00% at doses of 5 mg/kg (i.p.), 6 mg/kg (i.p.) and 7 mg/kg (p.o.), respectively.
Conclusion: IIIM-067 exhibited significant anticancer activity with reduced toxicity both in vitro and in vivo and is a promising anticancer candidate. However, further studies are required in clinical settings to fully understand its potential.
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Disparities in chiropractic utilization by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status: A scoping review of the literature
Jordan A. Gliedt, Antoinette L. Spector, Michael J. Schneider, Joni Williams, Staci Young
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 159-167.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.02.002
Online available: 02 February 2023

Abstract25)   HTML    PDF      
Chiropractic is the largest complementary and alternative medicine profession in the United States, with increasing global growth. A preliminary literature review suggests a lack of widespread diversity of chiropractic patient profiles.

There have been no prior studies to comprehensively integrate the literature on chiropractic utilization rates by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The purpose of this scoping review is to identify and describe the current state of knowledge of chiropractic utilization by race, ethnicity, education level, employment status, and income and poverty level.

Search strategy
Systematic searches were conducted in PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Index to Chiropractic Literature from inception to May 2021.

Inclusion criteria
Articles that reported race or ethnicity, education level, employment status, income or poverty level variables and chiropractic utilization rates for adults (≥18 years of age) were eligible for this review.

Data extraction and analysis
Data extracted from articles were citation information, patient characteristics, race and ethnicity, education level, employment status, income and poverty level, and chiropractic utilization rate. A descriptive numerical summary of included studies is provided. This study provides a qualitative thematic narrative of chiropractic utilization with attention to race and ethnicity, education level, income and poverty level, and employment status.

A total of 69 articles were eligible for review. Most articles were published since 2003 and reported data from study populations in the United States. Of the race, ethnicity and socioeconomic categories that were most commonly reported, chiropractic utilization was the highest for individuals identifying as European American/White/non-Hispanic White/Caucasian (median 20.00%; interquartile range 2.70%–64.60%), those with employment as a main income source (median utilization 78.50%; interquartile range 77.90%–79.10%), individuals with an individual or household/family annual income between $40,001 and $60,000 (median utilization 29.40%; interquartile range 25.15%–33.65%), and individuals with less than or equal to (12 years) high school diploma/general educational development certificate completion (median utilization 30.70%; interquartile range 15.10%–37.00%).

This comprehensive review of the literature on chiropractic utilization by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status indicates differences in chiropractic utilization across diverse racial and ethnic and socioeconomic populations. Heterogeneity existed among definitions of key variables, including race, ethnicity, education level, employment status, and income and poverty level in the included studies, reducing clarity in rates of chiropractic utilization for these populations.
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The Chinese herbal prescription JieZe-1 inhibits caspase-1-dependent pyroptosis induced by herpes simplex virus-2 infection in vitro
Tong Liu, Qing-qing Shao, Wen-jia Wang, Tian-li Liu, Xi-ming Jin, Li-jun Xu, Guang-ying Huang, Zhuo Chen
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (3): 277-288.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.03.003
Accepted: 19 October 2022
Online available: 21 March 2023

Abstract46)   HTML    PDF      


JieZe-1 (JZ-1), a Chinese herbal prescription, has an obvious effect on genital herpes, which is mainly caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Our study aimed to address whether HSV-2 induces pyroptosis of VK2/E6E7 cells and to investigate the anti-HSV-2 activity of JZ-1 and the effect of JZ-1 on caspase-1-dependent pyroptosis.


HSV-2-infected VK2/E6E7 cells and culture supernate were harvested at different time points after the infection. Cells were co-treated with HSV-2 and penciclovir (0.078125 mg/mL) or caspase-1 inhibitor VX-765 (24 h pretreatment with 100 μmol/L) or JZ-1 (0.078125–50 mg/mL). Cell counting kit-8 assay and viral load analysis were used to evaluate the antiviral activity of JZ-1. Inflammasome activation and pyroptosis of VK2/E6E7 cells were analyzed using microscopy, Hoechst 33342/propidium iodide staining, lactate dehydrogenase release assay, gene and protein expression, co-immunoprecipitation, immunofluorescence, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


HSV-2 induced pyroptosis of VK2/E6E7 cells, with the most significant increase observed 24 h after the infection. JZ-1 effectively inhibited HSV-2 (the 50% inhibitory concentration = 1.709 mg/mL), with the 6.25 mg/mL dose showing the highest efficacy (95.76%). JZ-1 (6.25 mg/mL) suppressed pyroptosis of VK2/E6E7 cells. It downregulated the inflammasome activation and pyroptosis via inhibiting the expression of nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (P < 0.001) and interferon-γ-inducible protein 16 (P < 0.001), and their interactions with apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain, and reducing cleaved caspase-1 p20 (P < 0.01), gasdermin D-N (P < 0.01), interleukin (IL)-1β (P < 0.001), and IL-18 levels (P < 0.001).


JZ-1 exerts an excellent anti-HSV-2 effect in VK2/E6E7 cells, and it inhibits caspase-1-dependent pyroptosis induced by HSV-2 infection. These data enrich our understanding of the pathologic basis of HSV-2 infection and provide experimental evidence for the anti-HSV-2 activity of JZ-1.

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Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for polycystic ovary syndrome: An overview of systematic reviews
Han Yang, Zhi-yong Xiao, Zi-han Yin, Zheng Yu, Jia-jia Liu, Yan-qun Xiao, Yao Zhou, Juan Li, Jie Yang, Fan-rong Liang
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 136-148.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2022.12.002
Accepted: 10 November 2022
Online available: 28 December 2022

Abstract21)   HTML    PDF      
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the primary cause of anovulatory infertility, bringing serious harm to women's physical and mental health. Acupuncture may be an effective treatment for PCOS. However, systematic reviews (SRs) on the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for PCOS have reported inconsistent results, and the quality of these studies has not been adequately assessed.

To summarize and evaluate the current evidence on the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for PCOS, as well as to assess the quality and risks of bias of the available SRs.

Search strategy:
Nine electronic databases (Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wanfang Data, Chongqing VIP Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Database, and China Biology Medicine disc) were searched from their establishment to July 27, 2022. Based on the principle of combining subject words with text words, the search strategy was constructed around search terms for “acupuncture,” “polycystic ovary syndrome,” and “systematic review.”

Inclusion criteria:
SRs of randomized controlled trials that explored the efficacy and (or) safety of acupuncture for treating patients with PCOS were included.

Data extraction and analysis:
Two authors independently extracted study data according to a predesigned form. Tools for evaluating the methodological quality, risk of bias, reporting quality, and confidence in study outcomes, including A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews 2 (AMSTAR 2), Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews (ROBIS), Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses for Acupuncture (PRISMA-A), and the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE), were used to score the included SRs.

A total of 885 studies were retrieved, and 11 eligible SRs were finally included in this review. The methodological quality of 2 SRs (18.18%) was low, while the other 9 SRs (81.82%) were scored as extremely low. Four SRs (36.36%) were considered to be of low risk of bias. As for reporting quality, the reporting completeness of 9 SRs (81.82%) was more than 70%. Concerning the confidence in study results, 2 study results were considered to have a high quality of evidence (3.13%), 14 (21.88%) a “moderate” quality, 28 (43.75%) a “low” quality, and 20 (31.24%) considered a “very low” quality. Descriptive analyses suggested that combining acupuncture with other medicines can effectively improve the clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) and ovulation rate, and reduce luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone ratio, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, and body mass index (BMI). When compared with medicine alone, acupuncture alone also can improve CPR. Further, when compared with no intervention, acupuncture had a better effect in promoting the recovery of menstrual cycle and reducing BMI. Acupuncture was reported to cause no adverse events or some adverse events without serious harm.

The efficacy and safety of acupuncture for PCOS remains uncertain due to the limitations and inconsistencies of current evidence. More high-quality studies are needed to support the use of acupuncture in PCOS.
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Physical exercise suppresses hepatocellular carcinoma progression by alleviating hypoxia and attenuating cancer stemness through the Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin pathway
Chu-lan Xiao, Zhi-peng Zhong, Can Lü, Bing-jie Guo, Jiao-jiao Chen, Tong Zhao, Zi-fei Yin, Bai Li
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 184-193.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.01.002
Accepted: 27 October 2022
Online available: 20 January 2023

Abstract29)   HTML    PDF      
Physical exercise, a common non-drug intervention, is an important strategy in cancer treatment, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the mechanism remains largely unknown. Due to the importance of hypoxia and cancer stemness in the development of HCC, the present study investigated whether the anti-HCC effect of physical exercise is related to its suppression on hypoxia and cancer stemness.

A physical exercise intervention of swimming (30 min/d, 5 d/week, for 4 weeks) was administered to BALB/c nude mice bearing subcutaneous human HCC tumor. The anti-HCC effect of swimming was assessed in vivo by tumor weight monitoring, hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) detection of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and Ki67. The expression of stemness transcription factors, including Nanog homeobox (NANOG), octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT-4), v-Myc avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (C-MYC) and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), was detected using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. A hypoxia probe was used to explore the intratumoral hypoxia status. Western blot was used to detect the expression of HIF-1α and proteins related to protein kinase B (Akt)/glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β)/β-catenin signaling pathway. The IHC analysis of platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (CD31), and the immunofluorescence co-location of CD31 and desmin were used to analyze tumor blood perfusion. SMMC-7721 cells were treated with nude mice serum. The inhibition effect on cancer stemness in vitro was detected using suspension sphere experiments and the expression of stemness transcription factors. The hypoxia status was inferred by measuring the protein and mRNA levels of HIF-1α. Further, the expression of proteins related to Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling pathway was detected.

Swimming significantly reduced the body weight and tumor weight in nude mice bearing HCC tumor. HE staining and IHC results showed a lower necrotic area ratio as well as fewer PCNA or Ki67 positive cells in mice receiving the swimming intervention. Swimming potently alleviated the intratumoral hypoxia, attenuated the cancer stemness, and inhibited the Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling pathway. Additionally, the desmin+/CD31+ ratio, rather than the number of CD31+ vessels, was significantly increased in swimming-treated mice. In vitro experiments showed that treating cells with the serum from the swimming intervention mice significantly reduced the formation of SMMC-7721 cell suspension sphere, as well as the mRNA expression level of stemness transcription factors. Consistent with the in vivo results, HIF-1α and Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling pathway were also inhibited in cells treated with serum from swimming group.

Swimming alleviated hypoxia and attenuated cancer stemness in HCC, through suppression of the Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling pathway. The alleviation of intratumoral hypoxia was related to the increase in blood perfusion in the tumor.
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Inhalation of Cananga odorata essential oil relieves anxiety behaviors in autism-like rats via regulation of serotonin and dopamine metabolism
Nan Zhang, Shu-ting Wang, Lei Yao
Journal of Integrative Medicine    2023, 21 (2): 205-214.   DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.01.006
Accepted: 01 January 2023
Online available: 02 February 2023

Abstract21)   HTML    PDF      


Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms associated with autistic spectrum disorder. The essential oil of Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook. f. & Thomson, usually known as ylang-ylang oil (YYO), is often used in aromatherapy as a mood-regulating agent, sedative, or hypotensive agent. In the present study, the effects and mechanisms of YYO in alleviating anxiety, social and cognitive behaviors in autism-like rats were investigated.


The prenatal valproic acid (VPA) model was used to induce autism-like behaviors in offspring rats. The effectiveness of prenatal sodium valproate treatment (600 mg/kg) on offspring was shown by postnatal growth observation, and negative geotaxis, olfactory discrimination and Morris water maze (MWM) tests. Then three treatment groups were formed with varying exposure to atomized YYO to explore the effects of YYO on the anxiety, social and cognitive behaviors of the autistic-like offspring through the elevated plus-maze test, three-chamber social test, and MWM test. Finally, the monoamine neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine and their metabolites, in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC) of the rats were measured using a high-performance liquid chromatography.


Offspring of VPA exposure rats showed autism-like behaviors. In the VPA offspring, medium-dose YYO exposure significantly elevated the time and entries into the open arms in the elevated plus-maze test, while low-dose YYO exposure significantly enhanced the social interaction time with the stranger rat in session 1 of the three-chamber social test. VPA offspring treated with YYO exposure used less time to reach the platform in the navigation test of the MWM test. YYO exposure significantly elevated the metabolism of serotonin and dopamine in the PFC of VPA offspring.


YYO exposure showed the effects in alleviating anxiety and improving cognitive and social abilities in the offspring of VPA exposure rats. The role of YYO was related to the regulation of the metabolism of serotonin and dopamine.

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ISSN 2095-4964
CN 31-2083/R

Changquan Ling, Shanghai, China
Lixing Lao, Virginia, USA
Frequency: 6 issues per year
Publisher: Science Press, China

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