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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Sep;89(9):665-73. doi: 10.1139/Y11-058. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Protective effects of diosmetin extracted from Galium verum L. on the thymus of U14-bearing mice.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Heilongjiang August First Land Reclamation University, Daqing High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, P.R. China.


Diosmetin (DGVL) extracted from the traditional Chinese herb Galium verum L. has been found to have anticancer activity. In this study, the effects of DGVL on the thymus of U14-bearing mice were investigated. Using flow cytometry, peripheral blood lymphocytes were characterized based on the expression of surface markers for T helper cells (CD4(+)) and T suppressor cells (CD8(+)). Serum levels of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-10, and transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) and a cell proliferation assay were determined with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of Fas and Fas ligand (FasL) on the thymus was determined by Western blotting. Our results showed that DGVL inhibited tumor growth and significantly increased the thymus weight compared with the control. Also, DGVL elevated serum levels of IL-2 and significantly reduced levels of TNF-α, TGF-β1, and IL-10 in a dose-dependent manner. Histological study and terminal dUTP nick end labeling staining results showed that DGVL protected thymus tissue against the onslaught of tumor growth by inhibiting thymus lymphocyte apoptosis. The cell proliferation assay revealed that DGVL might promote more thymus lymphocytes towards proliferation. Furthermore, the ratio of CD4(+)/CD8(+) T lymphocytes was significantly increased from 0.69 to 2.29 by treatment with DGVL. Immunoblotting analyses revealed that the expression of Fas and FasL on the thymus was lower in mice in the DGVL treatment group than in the control mice. In conclusion, DGVL can inhibit tumor growth and protect tumor-induced apoptosis of the thymus, and the mechanism is closely associated with reduced cell death in the thymus and a Fas-FasL-dependent pathway.

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