Herbal Compatibility of Ginseng and Rhubarb Exerts Synergistic Neuroprotection in Cerebral Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury of Rats.
Front Physiol. 2019 ;10:1174. Epub 2019 Sep 13. PMID: 31572219
Objective: Ischemic stroke is a complex multifactorial disease caused by interactions among polygenetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors with limited effective treatments. Multi-herbal formulae have long been used for stroke through herbal compatibility in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM); however, there is still a lack of evidence due to their unimaginable complexity. Herbal pairs represent the simplest and basic features of multi-herbal formulae, which are of great significance in clarifying herbal compatibility. Here, we aim to investigate the neuroprotective effects of the herbal compatibility of Ginseng and Rhubarb on a cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury model of rats.
Methods: Male adult SD rats were randomly divided into a sham group, a normal saline (NS) group, a Ginseng group, a Rhubarb group, and a Ginseng + Rhubarb (GR) group, a Carbenoxolone [CBX, gap junction (GJ) specific inhibitor] group, and a GR + CBX group. Each group was further assigned into four subgroups according to ischemic time (6 h, 1 day, 3 days, and 7 days). The cerebral I/R injury model was established according to the modified Zea Longa method. The Neurological Deficiency Score (NDS) was assessed by the Zea-Longa scale; the cerebral infarction area was detected by TTC (2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride) staining; and the expression of connexin-43 (Cx43) and aquaporin-4 (AQP4) were detected based on an immunofluorescence technique and quantitative real-time-PCR.
Results: Compared to the I/R group, both the independent and combined use of Ginseng and Rhubarb can significantly improve NDS (<0.05), decrease the percentage of the cerebral infarction area around the infarction penumbra (<0.05) and down-regulate the expression of Cx43 and AQP4 after I/R injury (<0.05). The GR had more significant effects than that of Ginseng and Rhubarb (<0.05). Compared with the GR group, the GR + CBX group significantly improved in NDS (<0.05), and decreased the percentage of the cerebral infarction area (<0.05) and expression of Cx43 and AQP4 protein (<0.05).
Conclusion: The herbal compatibility of Ginseng and Rhubarb synergistically exerts neuroprotective function during acute cerebral I/R injury, mainly through reducing the expression of Cx43 and AQP4.