BMC complementary and alternative medicine

Inhibitory effect of Samul-tang on retinal neovascularization in oxygen-induced retinopathy.

PMID 26264147


Retinal neovascularization is a common cause of vision loss in proliferative diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity and age-related macular degeneration. Samul-tang (SMT) is a widely used traditional herbal medicine in East Asia and is also known as Shimotsu-to in Japanese and Si-Wu decoction in Chinese. This study was designed to evaluate the inhibitory effect of SMT on retinal pathogenic angiogenesis in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR). The mice were exposed to a 75% concentration of oxygen for five days, starting on postnatal day 7 (P7-P12). The mice were then exposed to room air and were intraperitoneally injected with SMT (10 mg/kg or 50 mg/kg) once per day for five days (P12-P16). On P17, we measured retinal neovascularization and evaluated both the expression of angiogenesis-related proteins and changes in the gene expression level in the mRNA. SMT reduced the area of the central retina and reduced retinal neovascularization in OIR mice. The protein array revealed that SMT reduced the level of SDF-1 protein expression. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that the HIF-1α, SDF-1, CXCR4 and VEGF mRNA levels in the retinas of OIR mice were elevated compared with those of normal control mice. However, SMT decreased the levels of HIF-1α, SDF-1, CXCR4 and VEGF mRNA in OIR mice. We are the first to elucidate that SMT inhibits the retinal pathogenic angiogenesis induced by ischemic retinopathy in OIR mice. SMT significantly inhibited retinal neovascularization by downregulating HIF-1α, SDF-1, CXCR4 and VEGF. Based on the results of our study, SMT could be a useful herbal medicine for treating ischemic retinopathy.

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FD40S Fluorescein isothiocyanate–dextran, average mol wt 40,000