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Br J Pharmacol. 1998 Sep; 125(2): 255-62.

Role of transforming growth factor-beta pathway in the mechanism of wound healing by saponin from Ginseng Radix rubra.

Kanzaki T, Morisaki N, Shiina R, Saito Y.

The Second Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba City, Japan.

1. The effects of saponin from Ginseng Radix rubra on extracellular matrix metabolism, the activation and synthesis of TGF-beta1, and the modification of TGF-beta receptor in fibroblasts were examined to elucidate the contribution of the TGF-beta pathway to the mechanism of wound healing by saponin. 2. Fibronectin synthesis was analysed by the immunoprecipitation method. Activation and synthesis of TGF-beta1 were measured by ELISA. The expressions of TGF-beta receptors in fibroblasts were examined at protein and mRNA levels by the cross-linking method and Northern blot analysis, respectively. 3. The fibronectin synthesis increased 2.3- and 3.9-fold at fibroblasts treated with 1 and 10 microg ml(-1) of saponin, respectively, compared with that in non-treated cells. Fibronectin synthesis stimulated with 10 microg ml(-1) of saponin was inhibited with 69% by 5 microg ml(-1) of an anti-TGF-beta1 antibody. mRNA of TGF-beta type I receptor increased 4.8- and 4.4-fold at fibroblasts treated with 1 and 10 microg ml(-1) of saponin, respectively, and that of TGF-beta type II receptor also increased 3.4- and 3.2-fold at fibroblasts treated with 1 and 10 microg ml(-1) of saponin, respectively. The significant increases of TGF-beta type I and II receptors and of fibronectin synthesis were observed at the same concentrations of saponin. TGF-beta content increased 1.74- and 1.87-fold at conditioned medium of fibroblasts treated with 100 and 250 microg ml(-1) of saponin, respectively, higher concentrations than those which accelerated fibronectin synthesis. Furthermore, the active TGF-beta content was below 10% of total TGF-beta at each concentration of saponin. 4. These results indicate that saponin stimulates fibronectin synthesis through the changes of TGF-beta receptor expressions in fibroblasts.

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