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JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

[Effects of Wenyang Huazhuo Tongluo Recipe Containing Serum on Transforming Growth Factor β1/ Smad Signaling Pathway of Skin Fibroblasts in Systemic Sclerosis]

Hua Bian, Qin Lv, Xian-zhang Huang, Jiu-lue Hu, Lei Yang, Bing-yu Mao
Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine 2015, 35 (9): 1054-9
26591358

OBJECTIVE: To explore the effects of Wenyang Huazhuo Tongluo Recipe (WYHZTLR) containing serum on transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1)/Smad signaling pathway of skin fibroblasts in systemic sclerosis (SSc).

METHODS: Totally 36 SSc patients were randomly assigned to Chinese medicine (CM) group, Western medicine (WM) group, and integrative medicine (IM) group according to random digit table, 12 in each group. Patients in the CM group took WYHZTLR decoction (one dose per day). Patients in the WM group took penicillamine tablet (0. 125 g each time, bid) and Prednisone Acetate Tablet (PAT 20 mg, qd). Patients in the IM group took penicillamine, PAT, and WYHZTLR decoction (in the same dosage of corresponding drugs as aforesaid). All patients were treated for one month to get drug containing serum. Besides, 10 untreated SSc patients' serum was taken as the control group. Healthy subjects' skin fibroblasts were originated from healthy skin tissue of the upper arms of 2 female patients undergoing plastic surgery. Corresponding serum of each group was added in the culture system of SSc patients' and healthy subjects' dermal fibroblasts respectively. Expression levels of TGF-β1 receptor type I (TGF-β1 RI), TGF-β1 receptor II (TGF-β1 RII), p-Smad2/3 and Smad7 protein were examined by Western blot. Expression levels of collagen type I and collagen type III (Col-I, Col-III) mRNA were examined by reverse transcription PCR. Contents of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) in the supernatant of SSc, skin fibroblasts were examined by ELISA.

RESULTS: Compared with the control group, expression levels of TGF-β1 R I and p-Smad2/3 protein significantly decreased, but expression levels of Smad7 protein significantly increased in skin fibroblasts of SSc patients and healthy subjects of WM, CM, and IM groups (P <0.05, P <0. 01). Meanwhile, the expression level of TGF-β1 RII decreased in the IM group (P <0. 05, P <0. 01). Compared with the WM group, expression levels of TGF-β1 RI and p-Smad2/ 3 protein significantly decreased, but that of Srnad7 protein significantly increased in IM groups (P <0. 01). mRNA expression levels of Col-I and Col-II in SSc skin fibroblasts significantly decreased more in WM, CM, and IM groups than in the control group (P <0. 05, P <0. 01). Besides, the expression level of Col-III mRNA was significantly lower in the IM group than in the WM group (P <0.01). Compared with the control group, serum levels of MMP-9 and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratios increased more obviously in WM, CM, and IM groups (P <0.05, P <0.01). But expression levels of TIMP-1 decreased significantly in CM and IM groups (P <0.01). Expression levels of MMP-9 and MMP-9/TIMP-1 ratios increased more in the IM group than in the WM group (P <0. 01). Expression levels of TIMP-1 decreased more in CM and IM groups than in the WM group (P <0.01).

CONCLUSION: WYHZTLR containing serum could reduce expression levels of Col-I and Col-III possibly through regulating key signal molecules, such as TGF-β1 RI, p-Smad2/3, and Smad7 in TGF-β1/Smad signaling pathway of SSc skin fibroblasts, and inhibiting transduction of TGF-β1/Smad signaling pathway.

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