Publications by authors named "Zhengquan Lai"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Patchouli alcohol ameliorates acute liver injury via inhibiting oxidative stress and gut-origin LPS leakage in rats.

Int Immunopharmacol 2021 Sep 25;98:107897. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Laboratory Animal Center, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510006, PR China. Electronic address:

Alcoholism represents a predisposing factor for liver-related morbidity and mortality worldwide. Pogostemon cablin has been widely used in China for the treatment of digestive system diseases. Patchouli oil, the major active fraction of Pogostemon cablin, can ameliorate alcohol-induced acute liver injury (ALI). However, patchouli alcohol (PA),a principal bioactive ingredient of PO, exerts a protection against ALI remains elusive. Thepresentwork focused on the hepatoprotection of PA against acute ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. In this study, male Wistar rats orally received PA (10, 20, or 40 mg/kg), PO (400 mg/kg) and silymarin (200 mg/kg) for ten days. On the 8th day, the rats orally received 65% ethanol (10 mL/kg, 6.5 g/kg) every 12 h for 3 days. Results showed that PA wasfound to reduce alcohol-induced ALI, as evidenced bysignificantly alleviated histopathologicalalterations, decreased the elevation ofALT and AST levels, and enhancedthe alcoholdehydrogenase(ADH) andaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activities. Additionally, PA markedly suppressed ROS levels and increased antioxidant enzyme activities via the CYP2E1/ROS/Nrf2/HO-1 pathway. PA regulated lipid accumulation by markedly inhibiting the expression of lipogenesis-related genes and stimulating that of lipolysis-relatedgenes, which were associated with the activation of theAMPKpathway. What's more, PA pretreatment also restored acute alcohol-inducedalterationsin gut barrier function, colonic histopathology, and gut microbiota richness and evenness. PA pretreatment alleviated gut-origin LPS-inducedinflammation by inhibiting the MyD88/TLR4/NF-κB signal pathway. In general, PA ameliorates ethanol-induced ALI via restoration of CYP2E1/ROS/Nrf2/HO-1-mediatedoxidativestressand AMPK-mediated fat accumulation, as well as alleviation of gut-LPS-leakage-induced inflammation regulated by the MyD88/TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2021.107897DOI Listing
September 2021

Apoptotic activities of brusatol in human non-small cell lung cancer cells: Involvement of ROS-mediated mitochondrial-dependent pathway and inhibition of Nrf2-mediated antioxidant response.

Toxicology 2021 03 16;451:152680. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Clinical Research on Traditional Chinese Medicine Syndrome, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, P.R. China; The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, P.R. China; State Key Laboratory of Dampness Syndrome of Chinese Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, P.R. China.

Brusatol occurs as a characteristic bioactive principle of Brucea javanica (L.) Merr., a traditional medicinal herb frequently employed to tackle cancer in China. This work endeavored to unravel the potential anti-cancer activity and action mechanism of brusatol against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines. The findings indicated that brusatol remarkably inhibited the growth of wild-type NSCLC cell lines (A549 and H1650) and epidermal growth factor receptor-mutant cell lines (PC9 and HCC827) in a dose- and time-related fashion, and profoundly inhibited the clonogenic capability and migratory capacity of PC9 cells. Treatment with brusatol resulted in significant apoptosis in PC9 cells, as evidenced by Hoechst 33342 staining and flow cytometric analysis. The apoptotic effect was closely related to induction of G0-G1 cell cycle arrest, stimulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde, decrease of glutathione levels and disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential. Furthermore, pretreatment with N-acetylcysteine, a typical ROS scavenger, markedly ameliorated the brusatol-induced inhibition of PC9 cells. Western blotting assay indicated that brusatol pronouncedly suppressed the expression levels of mitochondrial apoptotic pathway-associated proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl, accentuated the expression of Bax and Bak, and upregulated the protein expression of XIAP, cleaved caspase-3/pro caspase-3, cleaved caspase-8/pro caspase-8, and cleaved PARP/total PARP. In addition, brusatol significantly suppressed the expression of Nrf2 and HO-1, and abrogated tBHQ-induced Nrf2 activation. Combinational administration of brusatol with four chemotherapeutic agents exhibited marked synergetic effect on PC9 cells. Together, the inhibition of PC9 cells proliferation by brusatol might be intimately associated with the modulation of ROS-mediated mitochondrial-dependent pathway and inhibition of Nrf2-mediated antioxidant response. This novel insight might provide further evidence to buttress the antineoplastic efficacy of B. javanica, and support a role for brusatol as a promising anti-cancer candidate or adjuvant to current chemotherapeutic medication in the therapy of EGFR-mutant NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tox.2021.152680DOI Listing
March 2021

Huang-Lian-Jie-Du extract ameliorates atopic dermatitis-like skin lesions induced by 2,4-dinitrobenzene in mice via suppression of MAPKs and NF-κB pathways.

J Ethnopharmacol 2020 Mar 31;249:112367. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

School of Chinese Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T, Hong Kong SAR, China; Brain Research Centre, School of Chinese Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; Institute of Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China. Electronic address:

Ethnopharmacological Relevance: Huang-Lian-Jie-Du Decoction (HLJDD), is a well-known traditional Chinese herbal formula first written in the Tang dynasty. In Chinese medicine practice, HLJDD is commonly prescribed to treat various inflammatory skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis (AD) and psoriasis.

Aim Of The Study: The present study aimed at investigating the therapeutic effect of HLJDD extract (HLJDE) and to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of action in the 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (DNCB)-induced AD-like mice.

Materials And Methods: Female Balb/c mice were sensitized with DNCB for three days. After sensitization, mice were challenged with DNCB every three days and orally administrated with HLJDE (150, 300 and 600 mg/kg) daily from day 14 to day 29 for consecutive 16 days. At the end of experiment, the clinical AD scores of the mice were calculated to evaluate the therapeutic effect of HLJDE, and serum, ears and dorsal skin of the mice were collected for unravelling molecular mechanisms.

Results: HLJDE significantly reduced the clinical symptoms in the AD-like mice by inhibiting eosinophil and mast cell infiltration, suppressing the production of Th2-associated cytokine (IL-4) and pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α). In addition, HLJDE significantly suppressed the NF-κB and MAPKs pathways. Moreover, HLJDE was able to accentuate filaggrin expression in the skin lesion when compared to the sensitized mouse without treatment.

Conclusion: HLJDE significantly improved the AD-like symptoms on the DNCB-sensitized mice through mitigating the production of inflammatory mediators via suppressing MAPKs and NF-κB pathways. Additionally, the elevated expression of filaggrin in the skin lesion by HLJDE contributes to the recovery of dysfunctional skin barrier on the DNCB-sensitized mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2019.112367DOI Listing
March 2020

Characterization of brusatol self-microemulsifying drug delivery system and its therapeutic effect against dextran sodium sulfate-induced ulcerative colitis in mice.

Drug Deliv 2017 Nov;24(1):1667-1679

b Mathematical Engineering Academy of Chinese Medicine , Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine , Guangzhou , PR China.

Brusatol (BR) is one of the main bioactive components derived from Brucea javanica, a medicinal herb historically used in the treatment of dysenteric disorders (also known as ulcerative colitis(UC)). Due to its poor aqueous solubility, a novel brusatol self-microemulsifying drug delivery system (BR-SMEDDS) nanoformulation with smaller size, higher negative zeta potential and drug content, and excellent stability was developed. The appearance of BR-SMEDDS remained clear and transparent, and transmission electron microscopy showed microemulsion droplets to be spherical with homogeneous distribution. Pharmacokinetic parameters indicated that oral bioavailability was greatly improved by BR-SMEDDS as compared with aqueous suspension. Meanwhile, the anti-colitis activity of BR-SMEDDS was evaluated on dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis mice model. The result illustrated that the nano-formation significantly reduced the body weight loss, recovered colon length, decreased disease activity index and microscopic score, regulated immune-inflammatory cytokines, diminished oxidative stress and repressed the colonic expression of myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and nuclear factor kappa B p65 (NF-κB p65) proteins. Our findings demonstrated for the first time that BR could effectively attenuate colonic inflammation in mice, at least partially, via favorable regulation of anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory status and inhibition of the TLR4-linked NF-κB signaling pathway. The BR nano-formulation was superior to BR suspension and sulphasalazine, in treating experimental UC, and exhibited similar effect with azathioprine, with much smaller dosage. The enhanced anti-UC effect of BR might be intimately associated with the improved pharmacokinetic property by SMEDDS. The developed nano-delivery system might thus be a promising candidate for colitis treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10717544.2017.1384521DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8253134PMC
November 2017

(-)-Patchouli alcohol protects against Helicobacter pylori urease-induced apoptosis, oxidative stress and inflammatory response in human gastric epithelial cells.

Int Immunopharmacol 2016 Jun 24;35:43-52. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

School of Chinese Materia Medica, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510006, PR China; Dongguan Mathematical Engineering Academy of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Dongguan 523808, ,PR China. Electronic address:

(-)-Patchouli alcohol (PA), the major active principle of Pogostemonis Herba, has been reported to have anti-Helicobacter pylori and gastroprotective effects. In the present work, we aimed to investigate the possible protective effect of PA on H. pylori urease (HPU)-injured human gastric epithelial cells (GES-1) and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of action. Results showed that pre-treatment with PA (5.0, 10.0, 20.0μM) was able to remarkably ameliorate the cytotoxicity induced by 17.0U/mg HPU in GES-1 cells. Flow cytometric analysis on cellular apoptosis showed that pre-treatment with PA effectively attenuated GES-1 cells from the HPU-induced apoptosis. Moreover, the cytoprotective effect of PA was found to be associated with amelioration of the HPU-induced disruption of MMP, attenuating oxidative stress by decreasing contents of intracellular ROS and MDA, and increasing superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) enzymatic activities. In addition, pre-treatment with PA markedly attenuated the secretion of nitric oxide (NO) and pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-4 (IL-4) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), whereas elevated the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-13 (IL-13) in the HPU-stimulated GES-1 cells. Molecular docking assay suggested that PA engaged in the active site of urease bearing nickel ions and interacted with important residues via covalent binding, thereby restricting the active urease catalysis conformation. Our experimental findings suggest that PA could inhibit the cellular processes critically involved in the pathogenesis of H. pylori infection, and its protective effects against the HPU-induced cytotoxicity in GES-1 cells are believed to be associated with its anti-apoptotic, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and HPU inhibitory actions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2016.02.022DOI Listing
June 2016

Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects and underlying mechanisms of Huang-Lian-Jie-Du extract: Implication for atopic dermatitis treatment.

J Ethnopharmacol 2016 Jun 11;185:41-52. Epub 2016 Mar 11.

School of Chinese Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong SAR. Electronic address:

Ethnopharmacological Relevance: Huang-Lian-Jie-Du Decoction (HLJDD), a well-known Chinese herbal formula recorded in the Tang dynasty, is composed of Coptidis rhizoma (Huang-Lian), Scutellariae radix (Huang-Qin), Phellodendri Chinensis cortex (Huang-Bai) and Gardenia fructus (Zhi-Zi). It has clinical efficacy of purging fire for removing toxin and is commonly used for the treatment of disease including Alzheimer's disease, stroke and gastrointestinal disorders. HLJDD is also frequently applied for the treatment of various skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis (AD) and various types of eczema. The aim of this study is to investigate the anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic actions of Huang-Lian-Jie-Du ethanolic extract (HLJDE) and to elucidate underlying molecular mechanisms of action using relevant in vitro experimental models.

Materials And Methods: The anti-inflammatory effects of HLJDE were investigated through evaluating the change of nitric oxide (NO) and the production of several cytokines and chemokines in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 cell line. Expression of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), NF-κB p65 phosphorylation, inhibitor-κBα (IκBα) degradation were further investigated to elucidate its anti-inflammatory molecular mechanisms. Meanwhile, the anti-allergic activities of HLJDE was also evaluated using antigen-induced RBL-2H3 cell line. β-hexosaminidase and histamine release and selected cytokines and chemokines were measured to evaluate the anti-allergic activities of HLJDE. In addition, intracellular Ca(2+)level, MAPKs and Lyn phosphorylation were further investigated to reveal its anti-allergic molecular mechanisms.

Results: HLJDE could significantly suppress the secretion of NO, IL-1β, IL-4, MCP-1 and GM-CSF in RAW264.7 cells in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, HLJDE also markedly reduced the phosphorylation of MAPKs, and inhibited the transcriptional activity of NF-κB and IκBα degradation. Furthermore, HLJDE exerted marked anti-allergic activity through inhibiting the release of β-hexosaminidase and histamine. The release of cytokines and chemokines (IL-4, TNF-α, MCP-1) from activated RBL-2H3 cells were also attenuated by pretreatment with HLJDE. The inhibitory effects on intracellular Ca(2+)level, and reduced phosphorylation of MAPKs and Lyn are believed to be the anti-allergic mechanisms.

Conclusions: HLJDE exerted significant anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects through suppressing the production of allergic and inflammatory mediators via the NF-κB and MAPKs inactivation and IκBα degradation in the LPS-stimulated RAW24.7 cells, inactivation of MAPKs and Lyn pathway in antigen-induced RBL-2H3 cells. The present study provides in vitro experimental evidence to support the use of HLJDE for the clinical treatment of AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2016.03.028DOI Listing
June 2016

Protective effects of pogostone from Pogostemonis Herba against ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in rats.

Fitoterapia 2015 Jan 3;100:110-7. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

College of Chinese Medicines, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510006, People's Republic of China; Dongguan Mathematical Engineering Academy of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Dongguan 523808, People's Republic of China. Electronic address:

We examined the protective effect of pogostone (PO), a chemical constituent isolated from Pogostemonis Herba, on the ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in rats. Administration of PO at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mg/kg body weight prior to ethanol ingestion effectively protected the stomach from ulceration. The gastric lesions were significantly ameliorated by all doses of PO as compared to the vehicle group. Pre-treatment with PO prevented the oxidative damage and the decrease of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) content. In addition, PO pretreatment markedly increased the mucosa levels of glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), and decreased gastric malonaldehyde (MDA), relative to the vehicle group. In the mechanistic study, significant elevation of non-protein-sulfhydryl (NP-SH) was observed in the gastric mucosa pretreated by PO. Analysis of serum cytokines indicated that PO pretreatment obviously elevated the decrease of interleukin-10 (IL-10) level, while markedly mitigated the increment of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) secretions in ethanol-induced rats. Taken together, these results strongly indicate that PO could exert a gastro-protective effect against gastric ulceration, and the underlying mechanism might be associated with the stimulation of PGE2, improvement of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory status, as well as preservation of NP-SH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2014.11.017DOI Listing
January 2015

[Fingerprint research and multi-component quantitative analysis of Kumu injection by HPLC].

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2011 Jul;36(13):1739-43

New Drug R&D Department, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510006, China.

Objective: To establish the HPLC chromatographic fingerprint of Kumu injection and to simultaneously determine the contents of three beta-carboline alkaloids, comprehensively evaluating the immanent quality of Kumu injection.

Method: The chromatographic analysis was performed on a Phenomenex Gemini C18 ( 4.6 mm x 250 mm, 5 microm) column with the gradient elution solvent system composed of methanol and 30 mmol x L(-1) aqueous ammonium acetate (adjusted with glacial acetic acid to pH 4.5). Similarity evaluation system for chromatographic fingerprint of traditional Chinese medicine (2004 A) was used in data analysis.

Result: Sixteen co-possessing peaks were selected as the fingerprints of Kumu injection, and 7 peaks were identified by chemical reference substances. There were good similarities between the standard fingerprint chromatogram and each fingerprint chromatogram from the eleven samples for their similarity coefficients were not less than 0.9. Three kinds of beta-carboline alkaloids were separated well. The correlation coefficients were 0.999 9. The linear ranges of three components were 0.020 0-0.300 0, 0.102 0-1.530 0, 0.015 2-0. 228 0 microg, respectively, and the average recoveries ranged were from 99.5% to 102%.

Conclusion: The method of fingerprint combined with quantitative analysis is sensitive, selective, and provide scientific basis for quality control of Kumu Injection.
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July 2011
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