Rhubarb Protect Against Tubulointerstitial Fibrosis by Inhibiting TGF-β/Smad Pathway and Improving Abnormal Metabolome in Chronic Kidney Disease.
Front Pharmacol. 2018 ;9:1029. Epub 2018 Sep 13. PMID: 30271345
Tubulointerstitial fibrosis is the final common pathway for all kidney diseases leading to chronic kidney disease (CKD). TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway plays a key role in renal fibrosis. Previous studies have revealed that rhubarb extracts attenuated the increase of transforming growth factor-β 1 (TGF-β1) in CKD rats. To gain an in-depth insight into the mechanism of the anti-fibrotic activities of the rhubarb extracts,we investigated the influence of rhubarb extracts on TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway and the influence on metabolome in a rat model of CKD with adenine-induced chronic tubulointerstitial nephropathy. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups, including control, CKD, CKD + petroleum etherextract, CKD + ethyl acetate extract, and CKD +-butanol extract groups. Kidneys harvested on the week three were evaluated for renal fibrosis, the expression of proteins in TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway and metabolomic study. We found rhubarb extracts suppressed TGF-β/Smad3-mediated renal fibrosis by reducing the TGF-β1, transforming growth factor-β receptor I (TGF-β RI), transforming growth factor-β receptor II (TGF-β RII), Smad2, p-Smad2, Smad3, p-Smad3, and Smad4,meanwhile increased Smad7. In addition, rhubarb extracts mitigated renal injury and dysfunction, and either fully or partially reversed the abnormalities of tissue metabolites. Thus, rebalancing the disorder of TGF-β/Smad signaling and metabolic dysfunction by treatment with rhubarb extracts may represent as an effective therapy for CKD associated with fibrosis.