Ethnopharmacological relevance: Total glucosides of paeony (TGP), compounds extracted from the roots of Paeonia lactiflora Pall, have been used as an anti-inflammatory drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in China. Inflammation plays a critical role in the development of atherosclerotic vascular disease. Risk of cardiovascular diseases is significantly higher in patients with RA than in normal population. It has a great significance to study the effects of TGP on atherosclerosis.
Aim of the study: To investigate the effects of TGP on atherosclerosis induced by excessive administration of vitamin D and cholesterol in rats and study the mechanisms involved.
Materials and methods: Atherosclerosis was induced by excessive administration of vitamin D and cholesterol in rats. TGP was intragastrically administered for 15 weeks. The serum concentrations of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) were measured by automatic biochemistry analyzer. Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) were determined by immunoturbidimetry method, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method. The morphological changes of aorta were observed with optical microscopy.
Results: Compared to controls, TGP significantly lowered the serum level of TC, TG, LDL-C, ApoB, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and CRP, increased the ratios of HDL-C/LDL-C and ApoA1/ApoB, decreased the intima-media thickness (IMT) of abdominal aortal wall and improved the morphological change of the aorta.
Conclusions: TGP may attenuate the development of atherosclerotic disease. The beneficial effects are associated with its lowering blood lipids and inhibiting the expression of inflammatory cytokines.
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