J Hepatol. 1998 Nov; 29(5): 760-71.
Salvia miltiorrhiza reduces experimentally-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats.
Department of Pediatric Surgery, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore, Singapore. [email protected]
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Hepatic fibrosis occurs as a result of injury to the liver parenchyma and biliary system. We have studied the effect of the traditional Chinese medicinal herb, Salvia miltiorrhiza, in an experimental model of hepatic fibrosis and evaluated its effect on various paradigms involved in hepatic fibrosis. METHODS: Liver fibrosis was induced in male Wistar rats by chronic administration of carbon tetrachloride for 10 weeks. The carbon tetrachloride-treated rats were randomly assigned to three groups: no treatment, Salvia for 12 weeks from the onset of carbon tetrachloride treatment, and Salvia for 2 weeks after the completion of the 10-week course. The normal control groups in the study were: neither carbon tetrachloride nor Salvia, and Salvia only for 12 weeks. The livers were graded histologically and analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for the transcription of genes involved in liver fibrosis, namely, transforming growth factor-beta1 and the extracellular matrix components procollagens I and III, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 and matrix metalloproteinase-13. The transcripts were normalized against that of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and analyzed statistically. RESULTS: The histological evaluation showed that Salvia could reverse the fibrosis caused by carbon tetrachloride treatment. Rats treated with the herb had reduced levels of transforming growth factor-beta1, procollagens I and III and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 transcripts and an increased level of matrix metalloproteinase-13 transcript, when compared to the disease control. CONCLUSION: Salvia miltiorrhiza, a cheap and widely available herb, significantly reduces carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats.