Anti-diabetic atherosclerosis effect of Prunella vulgaris in db/db mice with type 2 diabetes

Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(5):937-51. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X12500693.


Diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of vascular complications such as atherosclerosis. This study was designed to investigate whether Prunella vulgaris (APV) would inhibit diabetic atherosclerosis in db/db mice with type 2 diabetes. The db/db mice were treated with high fat/high cholesterol (HFHC) diet and an aqueous extract of APV (100 and 200 mg/kg/day) for eight weeks to examine the long-term effect on metabolic abnormalities and diabetic atherosclerosis. APV treatment markedly lowered blood glucose and systolic blood pressure. The db/db mice experienced an increase in blood urea nitrogen as well as a decrease of creatinine clearance, the latter of which was restored by treatment with APV. Treatment with APV markedly decreased total plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL-cholesterol and also increased the HDL-cholesterol. In addition, malondialdehyde and TGF-β1 were decreased by treatment of APV. On the other hand, total NO level was decreased in db/db mice. However, the NO level was increased by treatment with APV, suggesting an association with vascular dysfunction. Vascular relaxation of aortic rings by acetylcholine or SNP-inducement was ameliorated by APV in a dose-dependent manner. Damage of vascular intima and hypertrophic of media were observed in db/db mice; however its dysfunction was improved by the treatment of APV. APV treatment significantly reduced the aortic expressions of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, ET-1, and nitrotyrosine. Furthermore, expression of eNOS in aortic was remarkably increased by APV treatment. Taken together, APV suppressed hyperglycemia and diabetic vascular dysfunction in HFHC diet-db/db mice. The present data suggest that Prunella vulgaris may prevent development of diabetic atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine
  • Animals
  • Aorta / drug effects
  • Atherosclerosis / blood
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Diabetes Complications / blood
  • Diabetes Complications / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelin-1 / blood
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology
  • Hypertrophy
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Prunella*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / blood
  • Tunica Intima / drug effects
  • Tunica Media / drug effects
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Tyrosine / blood
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Vasodilation / drug effects


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Endothelin-1
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Lipids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Nitric Oxide
  • 3-nitrotyrosine
  • Tyrosine
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Creatinine
  • Acetylcholine