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Nephrology (Carlton). 2011 Feb;16(2):200-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1797.2010.01359.x.

Triptolide attenuates renal interstitial fibrosis in rats with unilateral ureteral obstruction.

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Organ Transplant Centre, First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.



Extracts of Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. have been used to treat glomerulonephritis for more than 30 years in China. Most of the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities of these extracts can be attributed to triptolide (Trip). The present study was to investigate the effect of Trip on renal interstitial fibrosis in a model of unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO).


UUO or sham-operated rats were randomly assigned to receive mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), Trip or vehicle and were killed on days 7 and 14 after UUO or sham operation. Kidney specimens were fixed for immunohistochemistry for myofibroblasts (α-smooth muscle actin, α-SMA), macrophages (ED-1), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and osteopontin. Interstitial collagen deposition and amounts of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) were determined by Sirius red staining and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. The mRNA expression of TGF-β1, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), MCP-1 and osteopontin were measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis.


The scores for the density of α-SMA- and ED-1-positive cells, the staining of MCP-1 and osteopontin, interstitial collagen deposition and amounts of TGF-β1 were significantly reduced by MMF or Trip. MMF or Trip significantly reduced the mRNA expression of TGF-β1, CTGF, MCP-1 and osteopontin.


Trip significantly attenuated tubulointerstitial fibrosis in a rat UUO model and the effect of Trip on renal fibrosis was similar to that of MMF. Trip may be useful as a potential candidate in the treatment of renal fibrosis.

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