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Shikonin, a highly liposoluble naphthoquinone pigment isolated from the traditional medical herbs Lithospermum erythrorhizon (LE), was considered to exhibit an anti-inflammatory property. While the potential of shikonin to ameliorate acute pancreatitis (AP) is unknown. Our aim was to investigate the effects of shikonin in a murine model of cerulein-induced pancreatitis. AP was induced in mice by six intraperitoneal injection of cerulein (50 μg/kg) at hourly intervals. Vehicle or shikonin (50 mg/kg) was pretreated 2 h before the first cerulein injection. After 6 h, 9 h and 12 h of the first cerulein injection, the severity of acute pancreatitis was assessed by biochemistry, myeloperoxidase activity, histological grading, proinflammatory cytokines levels and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activity. Shikonin administration significantly reduced serum amylase and lipase activities, pancreatic histological scores, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 levels, MPO activity and NF-κB activity. Taken together, these results suggest that shikonin might protect against experimental pancreatitis by reducing release of inflammatory cytokines via inhibition of NF-κB activity. The therapeutic role of shikonin in AP needs further investigation. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Jie Xiong, Jianbo Ni, Guoyong Hu, Jie Shen, Yan Zhao, Lijuan Yang, Jiaqing Shen, Guojian Yin, Congying Chen, Ge Yu, Yanling Hu, Miao Xing, Rong Wan, Xingpeng Wang. Shikonin ameliorates cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in mice. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2013 Jan 30;145(2):573-80

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PMID: 23201088

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