Research Papers: Immunology:

Liang-Ge-San, a classic traditional Chinese medicine formula, protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation through cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway

Jun-Shan Liu, Xi-Duan Wei, Zi-Bin Lu, Pei Xie, Hong-Ling Zhou, Yu-Yao Chen, Jia-Mei Ma and Lin-Zhong Yu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:21222-21234. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8452

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Jun-Shan Liu1,*, Xi-Duan Wei1,*, Zi-Bin Lu1,*, Pei Xie1, Hong-Ling Zhou1, Yu-Yao Chen1, Jia-Mei Ma1 and Lin-Zhong Yu1

1 Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, P. R. China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Lin-Zhong Yu, email:

Keywords: Liang-Ge-San, inflammation, α7 nicotinic cholinergic receptor, NF-κB, Immunology and Microbiology Section, Immune response, Immunity

Received: January 22, 2016 Accepted: March 08, 2016 Published: March 28, 2016


Liang-Ge-San (LGS) is a classic formula in traditional Chinese medicine, which is widely used to treat acute lung injury (ALI), pharyngitis and amygdalitis in clinic. However, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly defined. In this study, we discovered that LGS exerted potent anti-inflammatory effects in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation. We found that LGS significantly depressed the production of IL-6 and TNF-α in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. The degradation and phosphorylation of IκBα and the nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 were also inhibited. Moreover, LGS activated α7 nicotinic cholinergic receptor (α7nAchR). The blockage of α7nAchR by selective inhibitor methyllycaconitine (MLA) or α7nAchR siRNA attenuated the inhibitory effects of LGS on IκBα, NF-κB p65, IL-6 and TNF-α. Critically, LGS significantly inhibited inflammation in LPS-induced ALI rats through the activation of NF-κB signaling pathway. However, these protective effects could be counteracted by the treatment of MLA. Taken together, we first demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects of LGS both in vitro and in vivo through cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. The study provides a rationale for the clinical application of LGS as an anti-inflammatory agent and supports the critical role of cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway in inflammation.

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