Objectives: Gout is a common disease caused by hyperglycemia. Traditional drugs for gout have both good therapeutic effects and serious side effects. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the potential sources of modern medicine, and is the development of new drugs for many diseases, including gout. TCM is an indispensable part of gout treatment.
Compared with anti-gout medication commonly used in clinic (e.g. the xanthine oxidase inhibitors allopurinol and febuxostat), traditional Chinese medicine has fewer side effects in the treatment of gout and can safely control serum uric acid and the level of inflammation. However, there have been few studies on how traditional Chinese medicine controls uric acid and inflammation levels in patients with gout.
Key findings: Herbs are a valuable resource in the search for new drugs to treat many diseases, including gout. Phytochemicals in TCM treatment of gout mainly includes two aspects, anti-inflammatory and reducing uric acid content. The anti-inflammatory mechanism is mainly through the inactivation of NF-κB and NLRP3 inflammasome to reduce the inflammatory response induced by uric acid crystals.
The mechanism of lowering uric acid is mainly through inhibiting the activity of xanthine oxidase and up-regulating the expression of URAT1 and GLUT9. In recent years, the intestinal flora has become a new field of understanding diseases. It has been observed that the occurrence of gout is closely related to changes in the intestinal flora. Herbaceous plants contain fiber, polyphenols, polysaccharides and other active components.
When taken orally, Chinese herbs act like prebiotics. After traditional Chinese medicine treatment, the abundance levels of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Bacteroidetes and Prevotella were increased, while the abundance of Proteus and the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio were decreased. Changes in the intestinal flora led to further changes in its metabolites, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which ultimately down-regulate the TLR4/NF-κB inflammatory signaling pathway, up-regulate GLUT9 and URAT1 gene expression and inhibition of xanthine oxidase activity.
Destruction of the intestinal barrier is also an important factor in the occurrence of gout. Disruption of the intestinal barrier allows LPS to enter the bloodstream and activates the expression of various inflammatory factors, which causes gout.