Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE B

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 576–587 | Cite as

Improvement in post-partum uterine involution in rats treated with Apios americana

  • Zi-huan Zheng
  • Ying Han
  • Shi-ying You
  • Zuo Chen
  • Xiao-dong ZhengEmail author


Objective: Apios americana, a plant used as a staple ingredient of native American diets, has various properties, including anti-cancer, anti-hyperglycemic, hypotensive, and anti-inflammatory activity. In Japan, Apios is used as a post-natal medication. After parturition, women undergo a period of recovery as they return to pre-pregnancy conditions. However, few health products that aid post-partum recovery are on the market. We explored whether Apios can accelerate the post-partum recovery process, in particular the involution of the uterus. Methods: Female rats kept in individual cages were mated with two male rats, with the exception of the control group (female rats without mating, on basal diet; n=6). After delivery, rats were divided into five groups based on their diet: basal diet (model; n=6); basal diet+oral intake at 5.4 g/kg of Chanfukang granules (a Chinese patent medicine preparation for post-partum lochia) (positive; n=6); basal diet containing 10% Apios powder (low; n=6); basal diet containing 20% Apios powder (medium; n=6); basal diet containing 40% Apios powder (high; n=6). Five days later, uteri and spleens were weighed. Uterus and spleen indices for each rat were calculated by dividing visceral weight by the total weight. Hormone and cytokine concentrations were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Histological analysis of uteri was completed using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. Expression of matrix metalloproteinases and inhibitors in uteri was measured by western blotting. Results: Our results showed that Apios treatment reduced the post-partum uterus index and regulated the hormone concentrations. Moreover, we found that the process of uterine involution was accelerated, based on morphological changes in the uterus. In addition, our results indicated that Apios alleviated the inflammatory response induced by the involution process. Transforming growth factor ß was also found to be regulated by Apios. There were significant downregulation of matrix metalloproteinases and upregulation of their inhibitors by Apios, which suggested that Apios increased the rate of the collagen clearance process. Conclusions: These results, based on experimental observations at the molecular and protein levels, verified our hypothesis that Apios can improve uterine involution, and demonstrated the potential application of Apios in post-partum care.

Key words

Apios americana Uterine involution Cytokine Matrix metalloproteinase 



目的: 研究美国豆芋(Apios americana)对产后恢复过程,特别是子宫复旧的影响。

创新点: 开发针对产后恢复的新食品。

方法: 将雌雄大鼠配种交配,对照组除外(没有交配的雌性大鼠,基础日粮,n=6)。分娩后,将雌性大鼠分为五组:基础饮食(模型组,n=6);基础饮食+灌胃给药5.4 g/kg 的产妇康颗粒(阳性组,n=6);含10%豆芋粉末的基础日粮(低剂量组,n=6);含20%豆芋粉末的基础日粮(中剂量组,n=6);含40%豆芋粉末的基础日粮(高剂量组,n=6)。实验结束后,称量子宫和脾脏质量,计算子宫和脾脏指数。并测量血清内激素和细胞因子水平,研究子宫的组织病理学变化,检测基质金属蛋白酶和抑制剂在子宫中的表达。

结论: 豆芋干预减少了产后子宫指数并调节了激素浓度,加速了子宫形态复旧的过程,减轻了分娩引起的炎症反应。同时发现,转化生长因子β 也受豆芋调节。豆芋干预使得基质金属蛋白酶显著下调,其抑制剂则显著上调,这表明豆芋增加了胶原清除过程的速度。


美国豆芋 子宫复旧 细胞因子 基质金属蛋白酶 


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Copyright information

© Zhejiang University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Biosystems Engineering and Food ScienceZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.National Engineering Laboratory of Intelligent Food Technology and EquipmentHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Agro-Food ProcessingHangzhouChina
  4. 4.Fuli Institute of Food ScienceHangzhouChina
  5. 5.Women’s Hospital, School of MedicineZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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