Bronchial asthma, a non-communicable chronic respiratory disease, affects people of all ages. An important pathological feature of bronchial asthma is airway remodeling. Hyssopus cuspidatus Boriss. has been used to treat bronchial asthma for over 100 years in Uygur medicine. The ethanol extract of Hyssopus cuspidatus Boriss.(JAX2) can improve airway inflammation in asthma. However, the anti-asthmatic airway-remodeling effect of JAX2 is unclear.
The current study investigated the anti-airway remodeling effect of JAX2 and elucidated its mechanism of action.
The present study established an ovalbumin-induced mouse model of asthma and platelet-derived growth factor-BB-induced human airway smooth muscle cells (hASMCs) proliferation model, with dexamethasone (DEX) and feining tablets (FNP) designated as positive control drugs. Pathological changes in lung tissues were observed using hematoxylin and eosin staining. Interleukin (IL)-5, IL-10, IL-13, and IL-33 levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and serum of mice were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Changes in the expression and distribution of TGF-β1, p-ERK1/2, Smad2/3, and p-Smad3 in lung tissues were determined using immunohistochemistry. Western blotting (WB) was used to determine the protein levels of p-ERK1/2 in lung tissues and cells. MTS assay was used to determine the effects of JAX2 on cell proliferation. IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, MMP-2, and MMP-9 levels in the cell supernatant were determined using ELISA. HASMCs migration was observed using the scratch and transwell methods. The effect of JAX2 on the hASMCs cycle was determined using flow cytometry.
JAX2 significantly improved the pathological status of lung tissues in asthmatic mice. It could also significantly reduce IL-5, IL-13, and IL-33 levels in the BALF and serum of asthmatic mice in a dose-dependent manner and significantly increase IL-10 levels. TGF-β1, p-ERK1/2, Smad2/3, and p-Smad3 expression in lung tissues were decreased in a dose-dependent manner. The protein level of p-ERK1/2 in lung tissues was also reduced. JAX2 could significantly inhibit the proliferation and migration of PDGF-BB-induced hASMCs. IL-5, IL-13, MMP-9, and MMP-2 levels decreased significantly, and IL-10 levels increased significantly in a dose-dependent manner in the cell supernatant. JAX2 could block hASMCs in the G0/G1 phase, thereby inhibiting cell proliferation. p-ERK1/2 protein levels were found to decrease in a dose-dependent manner.
JAX2 significantly inhibits airway remodeling in asthma. Its mechanism of action may be inhibiting the proliferation and migration of hASMCs, releasing inflammatory factors and metalloproteinases, activating the ERK1/2 signal pathway, and promoting the secretion of anti-inflammatory factors.

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