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Exp Ther Med. 2014 Mar;7(3):685-690. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

Shikonin reduces endometriosis by inhibiting RANTES secretion and mononuclear macrophage chemotaxis.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Gynecology, Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210004, P.R. China ; Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210004, P.R. China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Gynecology, Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210004, P.R. China.
3
Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210004, P.R. China.

Abstract

Endometriosis is a common disease in females of reproductive age and has the classic characteristic of mononuclear cell infiltration into lesions. Shikonin is an anti-inflammatory phytocompound obtained from Lithospermum erythrorhizon whose potential therapeutic effects in the treatment of endometriosis remain unclear. The working hypothesis of the present study was that shikonin is capable of inhibiting the development of endometriosis by inhibiting the chemotactic effect. In a murine model of endometriosis, shikonin significantly inhibited the growth of human endometrial tissue implanted into severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice (P<0.05) and no adverse effects were observed. Mouse regulated upon activation normal T-cell expressed and secreted (mRANTES) levels in the peritoneal fluid of the animal endometriosis model were higher than those in normal SCID mice (P<0.05) and decreased significantly following shikonin treatment in a dose-dependent manner (P<0.05). Peritoneal fluid from SCID mice treated with shikonin inhibited the chemotaxis of monocytes; this inhibitory effect was eradicated by mRANTES antibody. In vitro, shikonin significantly inhibited RANTES expression in U937 cells that were cultured alone or co-cultured with human mesothelial and endometrial stromal cells. In addition, shikonin inhibited the RANTES-induced chemotaxis of U937 cells (P<0.05). The results indicate that shikonin inhibits the development of endometriosis by various mechanisms, including the inhibition of RANTES expression and the reduction of mononuclear cell migration to lesions. Therefore, shikonin may be a novel, useful and safe agent for treating endometriosis.

KEYWORDS:

RANTES; chemotaxis; endometriosis; shikonin

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