Reduning injection (RDN), a popular traditional Chinese medicine, formulated by three herbs (i.e., Artemisia carvifolia Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb., Lonicera japonica Thunb., and Gardenia jasminoides J. Ellis), has been widely used to treat upper respiratory infectious diseases in China.
To investigate the protective effect of RDN on both lipopolysaccharides (LPS)- and cecal ligation and puncture (CLP)-induced septic mice. To identify the potentially effective constituent, and to determine its protective effect and underlying mechanism in vivo and in vitro.
Male C57BL/6 mice were used to establish septic model by tail intravenous injection of 4 mg/kg LPS or CLP surgery. After modeling, mice were administered by tail intravenous injection of RDN in the dose of 16 or 8 mL/kg/day. The mortality, histopathology, plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines were evaluated respectively. In addition, we screened the potentially effective substances of RDN against sepsis by detecting the nitric oxide (NO) production in LPS-stimulated Raw 264.7 cells and verified the effect of luteoloside in CLP-induced septic mice subsequently. Finally, the underlying mechanisms of RDN and luteoloside were investigated in the inflammatory model in vitro.
Administration of RDN significantly reduced the mortality and increased the survival rate in both LPS- and CLP-induced septic mice. Meanwhile, RDN reduced the release of inflammatory cytokines accompanied by alleviating the organs damage of lung, liver, and kidney in CLP-induced septic mice. Moreover, several components from Gardenia jasminoides J. Ellis extract (ZZ) or Lonicera japonica Thunb and Artemisia carvifolia Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb extract (JQ) as well as the constituents of luteoloside, quercetin, and caffeic acid were screened out to have obvious anti-inflammatory activity, which may be the potentially effective substances of RDN against sepsis. We further verified the protective role of luteoloside in CLP-induced septic mice. In addition, RDN and luteoloside significantly inhibited both the secretion and translocation of mobility group box (HMGB)1, and HMGB1-mediated activation of TLR4/NF-κB/MAPKs signaling pathways.
RDN and its effective constituent luteoloside exhibited a significant protective effect against sepsis, which were potential candidate drugs for treatment of sepsis. The mechanism of antisepsis partly was related to inhibition of HMGB1/TLR4/NF-κB/MAPKs signaling pathways. The results provide an evidence base for the follow-up clinical application of RDN in treatment of sepsis.

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