Inflammation Research

, Volume 64, Issue 12, pp 953–961 | Cite as

Total glycosides of Yupingfeng protects against bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in rats associated with reduced high mobility group box 1 activation and epithelial–mesenchymal transition

  • Wenhui Cui
  • Liucheng Li
  • Delin Li
  • Xiaoting Mo
  • Wencheng Zhou
  • Zhihui Zhang
  • Liang Xu
  • Ping Zhao
  • Lianwen Qi
  • Ping Li
  • Jian Gao
Original Research Paper



Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a fatal inflammatory disease with limited effective strategies. Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a pivotal origin of myofibroblasts that secrete extracellular matrix (ECM) in the development of PF. High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), one of the mediators of inflammation, has been proved abnormal activation in the pathogenesis of PF.


The present study was aimed to investigate the potential effects of total glycoside of Yupingfeng (YPF-G), the natural compound extracted from Yupingfeng san, on HMGB1 activation and EMT in bleomycin-induced PF, which was a serious disease of respiratory system.


The Sprague–Dawley (SD) rat model of PF was duplicated by intratracheal instillation of bleomycin (5 mg kg−1). After that, YPF-G (5, 10 mg kg−1) and prednisone (5 mg kg−1) were separately administered intragastrically, and then the rats were killed at days 14 and 28, respectively. Hematoxylin and eosin and Masson’s trichrome staining were performed to assess the histopathologic level of lung tissues, western blotting and the common kits were utilized to investigate the hallmarks molecule expression of ECM and EMT, and the level of HMGB1 in lung tissues and serum.


We found that both dose of YPF-G markedly reduced bleomycin-induced alveolitis and PF in rats. Besides, the levels of HMGB1, laminin, hyaluronic acid, and hydroxyproline were effectively reduced. Meanwhile, the increased protein expression of HMGB1 and the mesenchymal markers including vimentin and alpha-smooth muscle actin, and the decreased protein expression of epithelial marker E-cadherin were dramatically inhibited after YPF-G treatment.


Our results demonstrated that YPF-G could ameliorate bleomycin-induced PF by reducing HMGB1 activation and reversing EMT.


Epithelial–mesenchymal transition High mobility group box 1 Pulmonary fibrosis Total glycosides of Yupingfeng 



Alpha-smooth muscle actin




Extracellular matrix


Epithelial–mesenchymal transition


Hyaluronic acid


High mobility group box 1






Pulmonary fibrosis




Total glycosides of Yupingfeng



This work was finally supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81274172, No. 81473267, and No. 30801535), the Open Project Program of State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, China Pharmaceutical University (No. SKLNMKF201206), and Traditional Chinese medicine research project of the health department of Anhui Province (No. 2012zy53).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors approved the final submission and declare that no potential competing interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenhui Cui
    • 1
    • 2
  • Liucheng Li
    • 3
  • Delin Li
    • 4
  • Xiaoting Mo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wencheng Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhihui Zhang
    • 2
  • Liang Xu
    • 4
  • Ping Zhao
    • 4
  • Lianwen Qi
    • 5
  • Ping Li
    • 5
  • Jian Gao
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PharmacyAnhui Medical UniversityHefeiChina
  2. 2.The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical UniversityHefeiChina
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacy, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, School of MedicineZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  4. 4.School of PharmacyAnhui University of Chinese MedicineHefeiChina
  5. 5.State Key Laboratory of Natural MedicinesChina Pharmaceutical UniversityJiangsuChina

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