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Tetrandrine promotes the survival of the random skin flap via the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

Flaps are mainly used for wound repair. However, postoperative ischemic necrosis of the distal flap is a major problem, which needs to be addressed urgently. We evaluated whether tetrandrine, a compound found in traditional Chinese medicine, can prolong the survival rate of random skin flaps. Thirty-six rats were randomly divided into control, low-dose tetrandrine (25 mg/kg/day), and high-dose tetrandrine (60 mg/kg/day) groups. On postoperative Day 7, the flap survival and average survival area were determined. After the rats were sacrificed, the levels of angiogenesis, apoptosis, and inflammation in the flap tissue were detected with immunology and molecular biology analyses. Tetrandrine increased vascular endothelial growth factor and Bcl-2 expression, in turn promoting angiogenesis and anti-apoptotic processes, respectively. Additionally, tetrandrine decreased the expression of Bax, which is associated with the induction of apoptosis, and also decreased inflammation in the flap tissue. Tetrandrine improved the survival rate of random flaps by promoting angiogenesis, inhibiting apoptosis, and reducing inflammation in the flap tissue through the modulation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

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