Centre of Infection and Immunology and Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Cyclophosphamide (CY) is a cytostatic agent that produces systemic toxicity especially on cells with high proliferative capacity, while polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis (AP) have been shown to increase the turnover of gastrointestinal mucosal and hemopoietic stem cells. It is not known whether AP has an effect on CY-induced cytotoxicity on bone marrow and gastrointestinal tract. In this study, we assessed the protective actions of AP on CY-induced leukopenia and proliferative arrest in the gastroduodenal mucosa in mice. Subcutaneous injection of CY (200 mg/kg) provoked dramatic decrease in white blood cell (WBC) count and number of blood vessels and proliferating cells in both the gastric and duodenal mucosae. Subcutaneous injection of AP significantly promoted the recovery from leukopenia and increased number of blood vessels and proliferating cells in both the gastric and duodenal tissues. Western blotting revealed that CY significantly down-regulated the protein expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), c-Myc and ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) in gastric mucosae but had no effect on epidermal growth factor (EGF) expression. AP also reversed the dampening effect of CY on VEGF expression in the gastric mucosa. These data suggest that AP is a cytoprotective agent which can protect against the cytotoxicity of CY on hematopoietic and gastrointestinal tissues when the polysaccharide is co-administered with CY in cancer patients during treatment regimen.
Keywords: Angelica sinensis, polysaccharides, cyclophosphamide, leukopenia, gastrointestinal tract, angiogenesis