Preventing renal injury in diabetic patients with a kudzu and shan zha mixture

Two herbal formulations used in traditional Chinese medicine – radix puerariae (RP) and fructus crataegi (FC) – are administered to sufferers of diabetes. Researchers wanted to know if the combination of these two medicines (RPFC) would have protective effects against renal damage resulting from Type 2 diabetes. Their study was published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • RP is made from the root of Pueraria lobata or Pueraria thomsonii (kudzu), while FC is derived from the fruit of either of two varieties of Crataegus pinnatifida (shan zha).
  • The researchers used 20 rat models which were given a high-fat diet to induce insulin resistance and were then divided into five groups: a normal group given a standard diet; a high-fat diet group; a diabetes group fed with a high-fat diet, but given only saline solution; a high-fat diet group given RPFC; and a diabetic group with a high-fat diet and treated with RPFC.
  • The study lasted 15 weeks. The animals had their weight and blood sample obtained once a week. At the end of the study, the animals were sacrificed and their kidneys analyzed. The researchers analyzed the animals’ blood biochemical index, as well as any renal pathological changes.
  • The authors found that treating with RPFC resulted in a decrease in blood glucose levels. Glomerulus mesangial matrix expansion, renal capsule constriction, and renal tubular epithelial cell edema were also less pronounced in the animals treated with RPFC. Lastly, the animals that received RPFC treatment exhibited lower levels of PI3K, AKT, alpha-SMA and collagen IV.

The researchers concluded that RPFC reduced the severity and incidence of renal damage resulting from diabetes by blocking the PI3K/AKT pathway in the kidney.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

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Journal Reference:

Chen Z, Yuan Y, Zou X, Hong M, Zhao M, Zhao Y, Liu Y, Li G, Zhu Y, Luo L, Bao B, Bu S. RADIX PUERARIAE AND FRUCTUS CRATAEGI MIXTURE INHIBITS RENAL INJURY IN TYPE 2 DIABETES VIA DECREASING OF AKT/PI3K. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 8 September 2017;17(454). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1945-3

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