Send to

Choose Destination
Chin Med J (Engl). 2005 Jan 5;118(1):43-9.

Astragalus membranaceus reduces free radical-mediated injury to renal tubules in rabbits receiving high-energy shock waves.

Author information

Department of Urology, First Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710061, China.



Recent studies have revealed the important role of free radicals in renal damage induced by high-energy shock waves (HESW). This study aimed at investigating the effects of Astragalus membranaceus, a traditional Chinese medicinal herb, on free radical-mediated HESW-induced damage to renal tubules in a live rabbit model.


Forty-five healthy male New Zealand white rabbits were randomly divided into three groups: control group (n = 15), sham group (n = 15), and herb-treated group (n = 15). Three days prior to HESW application, the controls received verapamil (0.4 mg/kg), the shams received physiological saline (20 ml), and the herb-treated animals received Astragalus membranaceus (2.4 g/kg) intravenously. HESW (1500 shocks, 18 kV) was applied to the right kidneys of all anesthetized rabbits. We measured superoxide dismutase (SOD) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels before and after shock treatment in blood and kidney homogenates. Histopathological changes were also observed.


MDA levels increased and SOD activity decreased significantly in the sham group (P < 0.05 for both) after shock treatment. MDA levels showed a much less increase in the controls (P < 0.05) and did not increase to statistically significant levels in the group receiving Astragalus membranaceus (P > 0.05). SOD values were significantly higher in the controls than in the shams (P < 0.05). By contrast, SOD levels recovered rapidly in the rabbits receiving Astragalus membranaceus, reaching a nadir within 24 hours, and returning to baseline more quickly than in control and sham rabbits (P < 0.05). Histopathological examinations showed that renal tubular damage in the controls was less severe than in the shams, while damage in the Astragalus membranaceus group was even more mild, with rapid recovery in comparison with the controls.


This study provides preliminary evidence indicating that Astragalus membranaceus has strong protective effects on free radical-mediated renal tubular damage induced by HESW and that these effects are superior to the effects of verapamil.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center