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Biochem Pharmacol. 1989 Oct 15;38(20):3527-34.

Studies on the metabolism of glycosaminoglycans under the influence of new herbal anti-inflammatory agents.

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Department of Biochemistry, Central Leather Research Institute, Madras, India.


The in vivo effect of an herbal based, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory product, salai guggal, prepared from the gum resin exudate of Boswellia serrata and its active principle "boswellic acids" on glycosaminoglycan metabolism has been studied in male albino rats. The biosynthesis of sulfated glycosaminoglycans, as evaluated by the uptake of [35S]sulfate, and the content of glycosaminoglycans were measured in specimens of skin, liver, kidney and spleen. Statistical analysis of the data obtained with respect to the boswellic acids and salai guggal were compared with those of ketoprofen. A significant reduction in glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis was observed in rats treated with all of the drugs. Glycosaminoglycan content was found to be decreased in the ketoprofen-treated group, whereas that of the boswellic acids or salai guggal treated groups remained unaltered. The catabolism of glycosaminoglycans was followed by estimating the activities of lysosomal glycohydrolases, namely beta-glucuronidase, beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase, cathepsin B1, cathepsin B2 and cathepsin D, in tissues and by estimating the urinary excretion and hexosamine and uronic acid. The degradation of glycosaminoglycans was found to be reduced markedly in all drug-treated animals as compared to controls. The potential significance of boswellic acids and salai guggal was discussed in the light of changes in the metabolism of glycosaminoglycans.

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