J Ethnopharmacol. 2024 Feb 16:326:117908.doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2024.117908. Online ahead of print.

Quemeiteng granule relieves goiter by suppressing thyroid microvascular endothelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis via miR-217-5p-mediated targeting of FGF2-induced regulation of the ERK pathway

Affiliations

Affiliations

  • 1 Department and Lab of Critical Care Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
  • 2 National Chengdu Center for Safety Evaluation of Drugs, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
  • 3 Clinical Pharmacy Center, First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, China. Electronic address: wuhui@kmmu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Goiters are enlargements of the thyroid gland and are a global public issue. Quemeiteng granule (QMTG) is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula used to treat goiter in Yunnan Province. However, the effectiveness and underlying mechanism of these treatments have not been fully elucidated.

Aim of the study: This study aimed to investigate the therapeutic effects of QMTG on goiter and the downstream regulatory mechanisms.

Materials and methods: In this study, we first evaluated the antigoiter efficacy of QMTG through biochemical indices [body weight, thyroid coefficient, triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), free triiodothyronine (FT3), free thyroxine (FT4), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)] and hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining in a Propylthiouracil (PTU)-induced model. Based on microRNA sequencing (miRNA-seq) and bioinformatics analysis, key miRNA was screened out. A dual-luciferase reporter assay was performed to confirm the transcriptional regulation of the target gene by the miRNA. The viability of rat thyroid microvascular endothelial cells (RTMECs) and human thyroid microvascular endothelial cells (HTMECs) was assessed using the CCK-8 assays. The migration and angiogenesis of RTMECs and HTMECs were visualized through tube formation and wound scratch assays. Proteins involved in angiogenesis and the ERK pathway were assessed via Western blotting.

Results: QMTG significantly increased body weight, decreased the thyroid coefficient, increased the levels of T3, T4, FT3 and FT4 and reduced TSH levels in rats with goiter. QMTG also promoted the morphological recovery of thyroid follicles. MiR-217-5p was identified as a key miRNA. Our studies revealed that miR-217-5p directly targets FGF2 and that QMTG promotes the recovery of thyroid hormone (TH) levels and morphological changes in the thyroid, suppresses thyroid microvascular endothelial cell vitality, tube formation and migration, and reduces the expression of VEGF, Ang-1 and VCAM-1 triggered by miR-217-5p, thereby inhibiting the Ras/MEK/ERK cascade through FGF2.

Conclusions: Our experiments demonstrated that the QMTG had therapeutic effects on goiter. These effects were attributed to the inhibition of ERK pathway-induced proliferation and angiogenesis through the targeting of FGF2 by miR-217-5p.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; ERK; FGF2; Goiter; Traditional Chinese medicine; miR-217-5p.

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