Liriodendron chinense (Hemsl.) Sarg, known as the Chinese tulip tree, has a long history of cultivation and utilization in many Asia countries, especially in China to use in traditional Chinese medicine for expelling “wind and dampness”, a term corresponding to rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis. Interestingly, the barks of Liriodendron chinense (Hemsl.) Sarg was also found in folk to treat gout. However, further experimental studies remained to confirm its uric acid-lowering effects.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the protective effect of ethanol extract of the barks of Liriodendron chinense (Hemsl.) Sarg (EELC) in a mouse model of hyperuricemic nephropathy (HN) and the involved mechanisms.
EELC at a respective dose of 250 mg/kg/d or 500 mg/kg/d were orally administered to HN mice induced by a mixture of adenine (160 mg/kg/d)/potassium oxonate (2.4 g/kg/d) for 21 days. At the end of the treatment, serum uric acid, kidney functions (serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen and urine microalbumin), 24-h urine uric acid excretion, as well as kidney pathological changes were investigated by biochemical assay, histopathological score, immunofluorescence and histochemistry, RT-qPCR, and western blotting analysis.
and Discussion: Oral administration of EELC significantly lowered serum uric acid level at 500 mg/kg (185.75±15.49 μmol/L of EELC vs. 238.28±20.97 μmol/L of HN model, p < 0.01) in HN mice. EELC at 500 mg/kg also remarkably reduced the levels of serum creatinine (82.92±7.86 μmol/L of EELC vs. 92.08±6.13 μmol/L of HN model, p < 0.0001), blood urea nitrogen (21.50±1.87 mmol/L of EELC vs. 29.40±3.95 mmol/L of HN model, p < 0.001) and urine microalbumin (4.25±0.40 mg/L of EELC vs. 5.95±0.33 mg/L of HN model, p < 0.001) to improve renal function. It also attenuated renal fibrosis, especially the high-dose of EELC. Furthermore, EELC could inhibit the activation of NF-κB, ASK1/JNK/c-Jun, JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathways and reduce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α in the kidneys of HN mice. Additionally, EELC remarkably increased urine uric acid excretion of HN mice, which may be achieved by the upregulation of organic anion transporter 1 (OAT1), OAT3 and ATP-binding cassette subfamily G member 2 (ABCG2) proteins.
EELC alleviated the progression of HN by suppressing the activation of NF-κB, ASK1/JNK/c-Jun and JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway, reducing the infiltration of inflammatory factors and uric acid accumulation in the kidney.

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