Budesonide is commonly used to treat the condition, and is available in inhaler, nasal spray, rectal and pill forms; for this study, inhaled budesonide was used.
At the same time, TCM practitioners have used extracts from the flowering plant, Herba Epimedii (HE), and the glossy privet fruit, Fructus Ligustri Lucidi (FLL), which have been used totreat asthma for many years.
However, since the effects of the combination of both treatments on airway remodelling had not been investigated, the study sought to explore this particular impact in asthmatic rats.
Researchers from Capital Medical University in Beijing divided 50 male rats equally into one control group and four other groups: an asthma model group, a budesonide group, a group administered the herbal extracts, and a group that received a co-administration of budesonide and the herbal extracts.
They subsequently found that the mice in the budesonide, herbal extract and co-administration groups exhibited “significantly decreased the levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IgE in serum”.
Additionally, co-administration “had better effects on serum IL-5 level than budesonide administration”, suggesting that it may have synergistic inhibitory action on airway inflammation.
Results on remodelling
The study defined said airway remodelling is “characterised by the increased deposition of collagen in the sub-epithelial basement membrane region and submucosal layers, smooth muscle hypertrophy and hyperplasia, fibroblast hyperplasia, epithelial metaplasia and goblet cell proliferation”.
While all three treatment groups saw decreased goblet cell hyperplasia, only the co-administration group had significantly reduced collagen deposition.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-remodelling properties of the herbal extracts were attributed to their flavonoids, iridoid glycosides, and alkaloids.
However, the specific roles of their various active components in the treating asthma need to be further investigated.
The study stated that, compared to the single use of either budesonide or the herbal extracts, combining inhaled budesonide with HE and FLL extracts had a superior synergistic effect on airway remodelling in the asthmatic rats.
It concluded that “the mechanisms of anti-remodelling in (the) asthma airway involve inhibiting the mRNA expression of TGF-β1 and TGF- β2, as well as modulation of TGF-β signalling in the lung tissue”, and that “additional studies exploring the mechanism of the systemic therapy are needed”.
Source: BioMed Central
“Effects of the combined extracts of Herba Epimedii and Fructus Ligustrilucidi on airway remodeling in the asthmatic rats with the treatment of budesonide”
Authors: Xiufeng Tang, et al.
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