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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:897272. doi: 10.1155/2015/897272. Epub 2015 Nov 5.

Neutrophilic Lung Inflammation Suppressed by Picroside II Is Associated with TGF-β Signaling.

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School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 626-870, Republic of Korea.
Natural Medicine Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Ochang, Chungbuk 363-883, Republic of Korea.


Although acute lung injury (ALI) is a leading cause of death in intensive care unit, effective pharmacologic means to treat ALI patients are lacking. The rhizome of Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora used in a traditional herbal medicine in Asian countries has been shown to have anti-inflammatory function, and picroside II (PIC II) is known as a major constituent in the plant. Here, we examined whether PIC II has an anti-inflammatory activity, which is applicable for treating ALI. We found that although it is not significantly effective in suppressing proinflammatory factor NF-κB or in activating anti-inflammatory factor Nrf2, PIC II induced the phosphorylation of Smad 2, with concomitant increase of luciferase activity from SBE luciferase reporter in RAW 264.7 cells. H&E staining of lung, differential counting of cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and semiquantitative RT-PCR analyses of lung tissues show that an intratracheal (i.t.) spraying of PIC II suppressed neutrophilic inflammation and the expression of proinflammatory cytokine genes in the lung, which were elicited by an i.t. LPS instillation to the lung. In addition, PIC II treatment increased the phosphorylation of Smad 2 in the lung tissue. Together, our results suggest that PIC II plays a role as an anti-inflammatory constituent in P. scrophulariiflora, whose activity is associated at least in part with TGF-β signaling.

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