Experimental and therapeutic medicine

Red yeast rice repairs kidney damage and reduces inflammatory transcription factors in rat models of hyperlipidemia.

PMID 25371725


Xuezhikang (XZK), an extract of red yeast rice, has been widely used for the management of hyperlipidemia and coronary heart disease (CHD); however, the effects of XZK treatment on kidney injury have not yet been fully identified. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effects of XZK on the kidneys and investigate the related mechanisms in a rat model of hyperlipidemia. Thus, the effect on inflammatory transcription factors and kidney damage was investigated with in vitro and in vivo experiments on hyperlipidemic rats following XZK treatment. The results revealed that the plasma levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) were significantly decreased, while the levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) were significantly upregulated in the XZK treatment group, as compared with those in the hyperlipidemia group (P<0.05). In addition, the results demonstrated that XZK was able to repair the kidney damage caused by hyperlipidemia. Furthermore, the expression levels of the inflammatory transcription factors, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6, were shown to be reduced in the XZK group when compared with the hyperlipidemia group. In summary, XZK reduces kidney injury, downregulates the levels of TG, TC and LDL-C, as well as the expression levels of inflammatory transcription factors, and upregulates HDL-C. These results further the understanding of the molecular pathogenic mechanisms underlying hyperlipidemia and aid the development of XZK as an effective therapeutic agent for hyperlipidemia.