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Pharmacogn Mag. 2016 May;12(Suppl 2):S257-63. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.182158. Epub 2016 May 11.

The Inhibitory Effect of Rhein on Proliferation of High Glucose-induced Mesangial Cell Through Cell Cycle Regulation and Induction of Cell Apoptosis.

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Department of Natural Medicine, School of Pharmacy, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, China; Department of Pharmacology, Medical School, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710061, China.
Xi'an Shiji Shengkang Pharmaceutical Industry Co. Ltd., Xi'an Fengjing Industrial Park, Xi'an 710065, China.
Department of Natural Medicine, School of Pharmacy, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710032, China.



Increased mesangial cell proliferation and accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) are the major pathological features of early-stage diabetic nephropathy. This study was sought to investigate the inhibitory effects of rhein (RH) on high glucose (HG)-cultured mesangial cells. Specially, we focus on the analysis of proliferation rate, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, and the expression of collagen IV and laminin.


The established rat renal mesangial cell (RMC) line was cultured in medium with different concentrations of glucose (5.6 mM or 25 mM) and RH (40 μM, 20 μM, and 10 μM). Pro-treated cells were collected at 12 h, 24 h, and 48 h for cell proliferation analysis and after 24 h for the experiments of flow cytometry, transmission electron microscope, real-time polymerase chain reaction, and Western blotting.


Our data shows HG can promote the proliferation of RMCs and RH has an inhibitory effect on HG-induced RMC proliferation and expression of ECM. Based on our data, we hypothesize this inhibitory effect might be a result of cell cycle regulation and the induction of cellular apoptosis.


RH can inhibit cellular proliferation and downregulate the expression of ECM under the circumstance of HG. The mechanism of growth suppression may be due to cell cycle arrest at G1 phase, induction of cell apoptosis, and upregulation of apoptotic mediators bax and caspase-3.


Rhein (RH) has an inhibitory effect on high glucose.induced rat mesangial cells proliferationRH has an inhibitory effect on the expression of extracellular matrixRH has a growth.suppression effectRH can upregulate the expression of apoptotic mediators bax and caspase-3All above shows RH is one of the main active ingredient in Shenkang injection. Abbreviations used: RH: Rhein, ECM: Extracellular matrix, DN: Diabetic nephropathy, RMC: Renal mesangial cell, SKI: Shenkang injection, MTT: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide.


Apoptosis; cell cycle; diabetic nephropathy; extracellular matrix; mesangial cell; rhein

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