Journal of ethnopharmacology

Effect of total alkaloids from Alstonia scholaris on airway inflammation in rats.

PMID 26707569


Alstonia scholaris (Apocynaceae) have been traditionally used for treatment of respiratory diseases in "dai" ethnopharmacy for hundreds years, especially for cough, asthma, phlegm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and so on. The formulas including the leaf extract have also been prescribed in hospitals and sold over the retail pharmacies. A. scholaris is used as a traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of respiratory tract inflammation. However, there is no scientific evidence to validate the use of total alkaloids of A. scholaris in the literature. Here, we investigated the protective activity of total alkaloids (TA), extracted from the leaves of Alstonia scholaris, against lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced airway inflammation (AI) in rats. 200 μg/μL LPS was instilled intratracheally in each rat, and then the modeling animals were divided into six groups (n=10, each) randomly: sham group, LPS group, Dexamethasone [1.5mg/kg, intra-gastricly (i.g.)] group, and three different doses (7.5, 15, and 30 mg/kg, i.g.) of total alkaloids-treated groups. Corresponding drugs or vehicles were orally administered once per day for 7 days consecutively. The concentration of albumin (ALB), alkaline phosphatase (AKP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and the number of inflammatory cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were determined by fully automatic biochemical analyzer and blood counting instrument. Nitric oxide (NO) level, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities were examined by multiskan spectrum, and histological change in the lungs was analyzed by H.E. staining. The levels of inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) were measured using ELISA. Total alkaloids decreased the percentage of neutrophil, number of WBC, levels of ALB, AKP and LDH in the BALF, while increased the content of ALB in serum. It also improved SOD activity and increased NO level in the lungs, serum and BALF, and reduced the concentration of MDA in the lungs. Total alkaloids also inhibited the production of inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-8 in the BALF and lung. Finally, histopathological examination indicated that total alkaloids attenuated tissue injury of the lungs in LPS-induced AI. Total alkaloids have an inhibitory effect against LPS-induced airway inflammation in rats.