Salvianolic acid B improves airway hyperresponsiveness by inhibiting MUC5AC overproduction associated with Erk1/2/P38 signaling

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Salvianolic acid B (SalB) is one of the main water-soluble composites from Chinese medicine Dansen (Radix miltiorrhiza). It is used for clinical treatment of various diseases including cardiovascular, lung, Liver, renal and cancers. However, the effects of SalB to allergy induced airway mucin hypersecretion, inflammation and hyperresponsiveness (AHR) remains not clear. Overproduction of airway MUC5AC is a central effector of inflammation that is strongly associated with AHR in asthmatic attack. In this study, we investigated the anti-asthmatic activity and mechanism of SalB in a murine model and human epithelial cells by monitoring changes in mucin expression and secretion, airway inflammation, AHR, and signaling pathways. SalB was administered by intragastric administration (i.g) daily for a week, starting at 21 days after sensitization of ovalbumin (OVA). All examinations were performed 24 h after the last antigen challenge. We found that treatments with SalB significantly inhibited increase in the tracheobronchial secretion, glycosaminoglycan levels, interleukin (IL)−13, IL-4, and IL-5 cytokines mRNA and protein expression, and decrease in mucociliary clearance in lung tissues. Histological results demonstrated that SalB attenuated OVA-induced eosinophil infiltration, airway goblet cell hyperplasia, and MUC5AC and MUC5B mRNA and protein expression in lung tissues. SalB exhibited protective effects against AHR in OVA-challenged animals. In vitro, SalB significantly inhibited IL-13-induced MUC5AC and MUC5B mRNA and protein expression in human epithelial cells. These effects were blocked by SalB by downregulating the Erk1/2 and P38 signaling pathways. Taken together, these data indicate that treatment with SalB may improve AHR by inhibiting MUC5AC overproduction.

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