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Could Manchurian violets be used to treat atherosclerosis and hepatic steatosis?

In this study, researchers from Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine investigated the effect of the water extract of Viola mandshurica (Manchurian violets) on atherosclerosis using apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoE???) mice. Their findings were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • Atherosclerosis is thought to be a disease that primarily involves lipid accumulation in the arterial wall.
  • To determine the effects of V. mandshurica, the researchers used mice fed with a high-fat diet and treated them with V. mandshurica water extract.
  • They observed that administration of V. mandshurica to the mice reduced the following:
    • Body weight
    • Liver weight
    • Serum levels of lipids, such as total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and triglycerides
    • Glucose
    • Alanine transaminase (ALT)
    • Aspartate transaminase (AST)
  • Histopathologic analyses of the aorta and liver of mice revealed that V. mandshurica attenuated atherosclerotic lesions and reduced lipid accumulation, inflammatory responses, and fatty acid synthesis.
  • V. mandshurica also increased phosphorylation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This, in turn, reduced acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) in liver tissue and inhibited sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c).
  • V. mandshurica reduced the expression of adhesion molecules (intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, and E-selectin) as well as ACC, fatty acid synthase, and SREBP-1c.
  • Quantitative analysis of V. mandshurica using high-performance liquid chromatography revealed the presence of esculetin and scopoletin.
  • Esculetin and scopoletin reduced adhesion molecules in human aortic smooth muscle cells.
  • The researchers associated the anti-atherosclerotic effects of V. mandshurica with the activation of the AMPK pathway.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded that the AMPK-dependent phosphorylation of SREBP-1c by V. mandshurica may be an effective therapeutic strategy for combating atherosclerosis and hepatic steatosis.

Journal Reference:

Park SH, Sung Y-Y, Nho KJ, Kim DS, Kim HK. EFFECTS OF VIOLA MANDSHURICA ON ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND HEPATIC STEATOSIS IN APOE??? VIA THE AMPK PATHWAY. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2017;45(04):757–772. DOI: 10.1142/s0192415x17500409

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