Inflammation and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) contribute to the development of peritoneal fibrosis (PF), which is associated with peritoneal dialysis (PD). Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus) has anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects in many diseases. The goal of this study was to determine the anti-fibrotic effects of Astragalus on the PF response to PD. A rat model of PD was induced using standard PD fluid, and PF was verified by HE and Masson's staining, as well as through the expression of fibroblast surface protein (FSP) and collagen III. The expression levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, F4/80 (macrophage/monocyte marker in rat), TGF-β1 and the downstream proteins phospho-SMAD 2/3 in dialyzed peritoneal tissue treated with or without Astragalus was evaluated using immunohistochemistry analysis. Overall correlations between MCP-1 and TGF-β1 staining were analyzed using both the Spearman and Pearson methods. The results showed that Astragalus could inhibit the recruitment and activation of monocytes/macrophages, thereby reducing the production of TGF-β1 in the dialyzed peritoneal membrane. PF was also significantly decreased following treatment with Astragalus. MCP-1 expression had a strong positive correlation with TGF-β1 sensitivity, suggesting that the anti-fibrotic function of Astragalus was mediated by MCP-1 and the TGF-β1 pathway. Our results indicate that Astragalus could be a useful agent against PD-induced PF.
Li, Z., Zhang, L., He, W., Zhu, C., Yang, J., & Sheng, M. (2014). Astragalus membranaceus inhibits peritoneal fibrosis via monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 and the transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) pathway in rats submitted to peritoneal dialysis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(7), 12959–12971. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms150712959