Salidroside promotes erythropoiesis and protects erythroblasts against oxidative stress by up-regulating glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jan 27;133(2):308-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.09.025. Epub 2010 Oct 23.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Rhodiola rosea is commonly used in China and Tibet folk medicine for the treatment of high altitude sickness, anoxia and mountain malhypoxia.

Aim of study: Salidroside (SDS) is an active ingredient of Rhodiola rosea. This study attempted to examine the potential erythropoiesis-stimulating and anti-oxidative effect of SDS in TF-1 erythroblasts.

Materials and methods: The erythropoiesis-promoting effect was determined by treating human TF-1 cells, one of the popular in vitro models for studying erythropoiesis, with SDS in the presence and absence of erythropoietin (EPO) through the measurement of the expression of a series of erythroid markers such as glycophorin A (GPA), transferrin receptor (CD71) and hemoglobin (Hb). The potential protective effect of SDS against H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis and its underlying mechanism in TF-1 erythroblasts were examined by flow cytometry and Western blot analysis.

Results: SDS promotes erythropoiesis in the EPO-treated cells and it also reduces the number of apoptotic cells in TF-1 erythroblasts after H(2)O(2) treatment probably through the up-regulation of protective proteins thioredoxin-1 (Trx1) and glutathione peroxidase-1 (GPx1).

Conclusion: Our study provides evidence to explain the ethnopharmacological role of SDS and Rhodiola rosea in Chinese medicine. Our findings also support the use of SDS as an erythropoiesis-adjuvant agent to correct anemia and malhypoxia.

MeSH terms

  • Altitude Sickness / drug therapy
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Erythroblasts / drug effects*
  • Erythroblasts / metabolism*
  • Erythropoiesis / drug effects*
  • Ethnopharmacology
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase GPX1
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Medicine, Tibetan Traditional
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Rhodiola / chemistry
  • Thioredoxins / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Glucosides
  • Phenols
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thioredoxins
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • rhodioloside
  • Glutathione Peroxidase GPX1