Background: The Chinese medicine formulation ISF-1 (also known as Bu-Yang-Huan-Wu-Tang) for post-stroke rehabilitation could increase the expression of growth-regulating protein follistatin by approximately 4-fold. This study aims to identify the active compounds of ISF-1 for the induction of follistatin expression.
Methods: Active compounds in ISF-1 responsible for induction of follistatin were identified by a bioactivity-guided fractionation procedure involving liquid-liquid extraction, HPLC separation and RT-PCR detection. The aqueous extracts of seven ISF-1 ingredients including Semen Persicae (Tao Ren) and the S. Persicae-derived fractions were assayed for the induction of follistatin mRNA expression in human hepatocarcinoma HepG2 cells by RT-PCR. The concentrations of isolated compounds were proportionally normalized to the reported IC50 concentration (5.8 mg/mL) of the formulation ISF-1 in HepG2. The active fractions were characterized by reverse-phase HPLC on a C18 column and identified by mass spectrometry.
Results: Three ingredients of ISF-1, namely S. Persicae (Tao Ren), Pheretima (Di Long), and Flos Carthami (Hong Hua), induced the expression of follistatin mRNA. Among these, the ingredient S. Persicae were the most active, and amygdalin from S. Persicae extract was identified as a novel follistatin inducer. Amygdalin stimulated the growth of skeletal muscle cell line C2C12 cells in a concentration-dependent manner.
Conclusions: Amygdalin isolated from S. Persicae extract in ISF-1 through a bioactivity-guided fractionation procedure induced the expression of follistatin in HepG2 and C2C12 cell lines.