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Drug Des Devel Ther. 2016 Mar 2;10:971-8. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S98558. eCollection 2016.

Eucommia bark (Du-Zhong) improves diabetic nephropathy without altering blood glucose in type 1-like diabetic rats.

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Department of Nursing, Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Hualien City, Taiwan.
Department of Pharmacy & Graduate Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology, Tajen University, Pingtung County, Taiwan.
Department of Cardiology, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Yong Kang, Tainan City, Taiwan; Department of Medical Research, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Yong Kang, Tainan City, Taiwan.
Department of Pathology, E-DA Hospital, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
Department of Medical Research, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Yong Kang, Tainan City, Taiwan; Institute of Medical Science, College of Health Science, Chang Jung Christian University, Guei-Ren, Tainan City, Taiwan.



Eucommia bark, Eucommia ulmoides Oliver barks (Du-Zhong in Mandarin), is an herb used for renal dysfunction in Chinese traditional medicine. In an attempt to develop this herb as a treatment for diabetic nephropathy (DN), we investigated the effects of Du-Zhong on renal dysfunction in type 1-like diabetic rats.


Streptozotocin (STZ) was used to induce type 1-like diabetes in rats (STZ-diabetic rats). In addition to hyperglycemia, STZ-diabetic rats showed significant nephropathy, including higher plasma levels of blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and renal fibrosis. Western blot analysis of renal cortical tissue was applied to characterize the changes in potential signals related to nephropathy.


Oral administration of Du-Zhong (1 g/kg/day) to STZ-diabetic rats for 20 days not only decreased the plasma levels of blood urea nitrogen and creatinine but also improved renal fibrosis, whereas the plasma glucose level was not changed. The higher expressions of protein levels of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) and connective tissue growth factor in diabetic rats were markedly attenuated by Du-Zhong. The increased phosphorylation of Smad2/3 in STZ-diabetic rats was also reduced by Du-Zhong. However, Du-Zhong cannot reverse the hyperglycemia-induced overproduction of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 in the diabetic kidney.


Oral administration of Du-Zhong improves STZ-induced DN in rats by inhibiting TGF-β/Smad signaling and suppressing TGF-β/connective tissue growth factor expression. Therefore, active principle from Du-Zhong is suitable to develop as new agent for DN in the future.


Du-Zhong; Smad2/3; connective tissue growth factor; diabetic nephropathy; renal dysfunction; transforming growth factor-beta

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