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Danggui-shaoyao-san (DSS), a representative formula of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for promoting blood circulation and diuresis (Huo-Xue-Li-Shui) therapy, has been used to clinically nephrotic syndrome (NS) and relieve nephrotic edema. To explore the effects and mechanisms of DSS in improving sodium retention and to identify the bioactive compounds from DSS. DSS prescriptions were disassembled into Yangxue-Huoxue (YXHX) and Jianpi-Lishui (JPLS). A nephrotic rat model was induced with puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN), and the effects on urinary sodium excretion, urinary plasmin(gen) content, and plasmin activity of DSS, YXHX, and JPLS extracts were assessed. The inhibitory effects on urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and plasmin activity of extracts were evaluated in vitro. Bio-affinity ultrafiltration and high-performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (BAU-UPLC-Q/TOF-MS) were used to rapidly screen and qualitatively analyze the uPA/plasmin affinity compounds from DSS extract. Additionally, uPA/plasmin inhibition assays and molecular docking were used to verify the activity and affinity mechanisms of the potential bioactive compounds. In vivo, DSS, YXHX, and JPLS prevented sodium retention in nephrotic rats. DSS and YXHX treatment decreased urinary plasmin activity but did not alter urinary plasmin(ogen) concentration, and their extracts showed strong uPA and plasmin inhibitory activity in vitro. These results suggested that uPA and plasmin are direct targets of DSS and YXHX in intervening NS sodium retention. Using BAU-UPLC-Q/TOF-MS, gallic acids, methyl gallate, albiflorin, and 1,2,3,4,6-O-pentagalloylglucose (PGG) were screened as uPA or plasmin affinity compounds. Among them, PGG was found to be a uPA and plasmin dual inhibitor, with an IC50 of 6.861 μM against uPA and an IC50 of 149.0 μM against plasmin. The molecular docking results of PGG with uPA and plasmin were consistent with the verification results. Intervening in sodium retention by inhibiting uPA-mediated plasmin generation and plasmin activity in the kidneys could be possible mechanisms for DSS, as indicated by the results in PAN-induced nephrotic rats. We conclude that PGG is a potential bioactive compound responsible for the effect of DSS on natriuresis. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Mo Yang, Lianghou Ni, Yunlai Wang, Zihua Xuan, Huan Wu, Wenjing Zhan, Xinyu Wan, Jinghui Wang, Fan Xu. Screening bioactive compounds from Danggui-shaoyao-san for treating sodium retention in nephrotic syndrome using bio-affinity ultrafiltration. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2022 Jun 28;292:115171

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PMID: 35259444

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