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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 918048, 8 pages
Research Article

The Gastrointestinal Irritation of Polygala Saponins and Its Potential Mechanism In Vitro and In Vivo

1Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine Resources and Compounds, Hubei College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wuhan, Hubei 430061, China
2Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co., Ltd., Wuhan, Hubei 430207, China

Received 26 August 2014; Revised 31 October 2014; Accepted 27 November 2014

Academic Editor: Dimitrios P. Bogdanos

Copyright © 2015 Li Wen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Processing alters the pharmacological activity and reduces the gastrointestinal toxicity of the polygalae. To investigate the effect of processing, different glycosyl substituent products were tested. Hypnotic and subhypnotic doses of pentobarbital-induced sleep tests on mice were used to evaluate the sedative activity of polygala saponins with different glycosyl substituents; isolated gut motility experiment was employed to study excitatory effects of different polygala saponins; the gastrointestinal irritation effects of different polygala saponins were compared by measuring the levels of gastric PGE2 and intestinal TNF-α on mice. When compared with control, Onjisaponin B (OJB) and tenuifolin (TEN), but not senegenin (SNG), significantly increased the number of sleeping mice and prolonged the sleeping time (); 80, 40, and 20 mg/L of OJB and 80 mg/L of TEN, but not SNG, obviously changed the amplitude and frequency of isolated jejunum (); all the three compounds significantly decreased the level of gastric PGE2 but had no obvious influences on the reduction of intestinal TNF-α level. For sedative and hypnotic effects, OJB > TEN > SNG; for the protection form gastrointestinal irritation and damages, OJB > TEN > SNG. Therefore, in processing Polygala, glycosyl breaking may be related to the decline of pharmacological activity and gastrointestinal toxicity of polygala saponins.