2012 Volume 118 Issue 1 Pages 99-108
Cistanche deserticola MA (C. deserticola) has been widely used as a laxative herbal in herbal medicine for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome or constipation, and echinacoside (ECH) is one of the major bioactive ingredients in this herbal. Our aim was to investigate the effect of ECH on intestinal epithelial cell growth and death. MODE-K, an intestinal epithelial cell line, was used as an in vitro model of the intestine. Cell proliferation was measured by methylthiazol tetrazolium (MTT) assay. Cell apoptosis was determined with Annexin-V staining. Here we showed that in cultured MODE-K cells, ECH significantly stimulated cell proliferation and enhanced cell survival by reducing cell apoptosis in the presence of H2O2 or the mixture of pro-inflammatory cytokines, while transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 expression was up-regulated in a dose-dependent manner. Knockdown of TGF-β1 expression disrupted both the proliferative and cytoprotective activities of ECH, which was further confirmed by neutralization of TGF-β1 activity using anti–TGF-β1 antibody. These data suggest that ECH as one of bioactive ingredients in herbal C. deserticola and others may improve mucosal tissue repair by stimulating intestinal epithelial cell proliferation and preventing cell death via up-regulation of TGF-β.