Multitargeted effects of hangeshashinto for treatment of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis on inducible prostaglandin E2 production in human oral keratinocytes

Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 Sep;13(5):435-45. doi: 10.1177/1534735413520035. Epub 2014 Feb 4.


Objective: Chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis (COM) is characterized by painful inflammation with prolonged damage that involves the pathological pain-evoking prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). We previously found that gargling with hangeshashinto (HST), a traditional Japanese medicine, was effective for the treatment of COM. However, little is known regarding the mechanisms. Our aim was to identify the active ingredients and clarify the characteristic effects of HST on the PGE2 system.

Methods: Prostanoids produced by human oral keratinocytes (HOK) stimulated with IL-1β were measured by enzyme immunoassay. Active ingredients that regulate PGE2 production were identified and quantified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and a culture system of HOK cells.

Results: Inducible PGE2, PGD2, and PGF2α, metabolites of cyclooxygenase (COX) pathways, were reduced by HST (10-300 µg/mL) without inducing cytotoxicity. The active ingredients of HST were quantified by LC-MS/MS, and [6]-shogaol, [6]-gingerol, wogonin, baicalein, baicalin, and berberine were shown to reduce PGE2 production. A mixture of these 6 ingredients at concentrations equal to 300 µg/mL of HST strongly suppressed PGE2 production to the same level as HST. [6]-Shogaol and [6]-gingerol did not decrease COX-2 mRNA expression and mostly inhibited PGE2 metabolic activity in an assay using intact HOK cells, suggesting that they regulate PGE2 synthesis at the posttranscriptional level. Wogonin, baicalin, and berberine inhibited expression of COX-2 mRNA without affecting PGE2 metabolic activity. Moreover, wogonin, but not [6]-shogaol, suppressed phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (p38s and JNKs).

Conclusions: These lines show that HST includes several PGE2-regulating ingredients that have different mechanisms and can function as a multicomponent and multitarget agent for treatment of COM, indicating that HST may be beneficial in a new medical strategy for COM treatment.

Keywords: [6]-shogaol; baicalin; hangeshashinto; oral mucositis; prostaglandin E2; wogonin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Dinoprostone / biosynthesis
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Interleukin-1beta / administration & dosage
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Stomatitis / chemically induced
  • Stomatitis / drug therapy
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • hange-shashinto
  • Dinoprostone