[Effect of Astragalus polysaccharide on pancreatic cell mass in type 1 diabetic mice]

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007 Oct;32(20):2169-73.
[Article in Chinese]


Objective: To study the effect of Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) on pancreatic beta cell mass in type 1 diabetic mice.

Method: Diabetic mice induced by multiple low dose streptozotocin (MLD-STZ) were administered either APS (100, 200, 400 mg x kg(-1) body weight) or saline intraperitoneally daily, and sacrificed after 15 or 30 days of treatment. Streptavidin-peroxidase immunohistochemical method with counterstain was performed to determine the effect of APS on insulitis. Indirect double immunofluorescence for Insulin/Ki67 (counterstained by Hoechst33258) and Insulin/Cleaved caspase-3 was used to evaluate pancreatic cell (besides beta cell) proliferation, beta cell neogenesis, beta cell apoptosis and beta cell mass. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR was utilized to characterize pancreatic regenerating protein 1 mRNA levels, and ELISA method was performed to measure the levels of cytokine IFN-gamma and IL-4 secreted by splenocytes.

Result: Attenuated insulitis, upregulated beta cell mass, increased number of neogenetic pancreas islets, decreased number of apoptosis beta cells and downregulation of Th1/Th2 cytokine ratio were significantly time-and dose-dependent on APS treatment, when compared to saline controls. However, no significant differences of the number of pancreatic proliferative cells or replicative cells and pancreatic regenerating protein 1 mRNA levels were demonstrated between APS (APS100, APS200 and APS400) and saline vehicle group on day 15 and 30 with APS treatment.

Conclusion: APS can upregulate pancreatic beta cell mass in type 1 diabetic mice, strongly associated with improved autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Astragalus propinquus / chemistry*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / pathology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / pathology
  • Lithostathine / biosynthesis
  • Lithostathine / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Streptozocin
  • Transcription Factors


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Lithostathine
  • Polysaccharides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Reg1a protein, rat
  • Transcription Factors
  • negative elongation factor
  • Interleukin-4
  • Streptozocin
  • Interferon-gamma