Background: Huo Xiang Zheng Qi oral liquid , a pharmaceutical product made from traditional Chinese medicine formulas, has been commonly used in household medication for gastrointestinal disorders, but the mode of action remains largely unclear.
Purpose: This study aims to investigate whether pretreatment with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi prevents lipopolysaccharide-induced adverse effects and the potential mechanisms involved.
Methods: Seven-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were orally administered low (1.3 ml/kg) and high doses (2.6 ml/kg) of Huo Xiang Zheng Qi for 7 days, and subsequently subjected to a single dose of lipopolysaccharide at 6 mg/kg. Dexamethasone served as the positive control. Each group had ten animals.
Results: The data demonstrated that either a low or high dose of Huo Xiang Zheng Qi significantly reduced the levels of inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide in both small intestinal and cortical tissues. Lipopolysaccharide profoundly decreased the richness and evenness of the microbiota and disrupted the composition of the intestinal microbial community, but pretreatment with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi did not successfully prevent dysbiosis.
No significant improvements in Huo Xiang Zheng Qi against lipopolysaccharide were observed in intestinal local immunity or the secretion of partial gut-brain peptides. In addition, pretreatment with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi prevented the alterations in the expression levels of proteins related to the NF-κB pathway, including phospho-p38, p38, phospho-p44/42, p44/42, p50 and p65 induced by LPS.
Conclusion: Herein, we demonstrated for the first time that the preventive effects of Huo Xiang Zheng Qi against lipopolysaccharide mainly occur through the inhibition of inflammation. These findings provide novel evidence that Huo Xiang Zheng Qi may serve as a new agent for the prevention of gastrointestinal inflammation-related disorders.