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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 542621, 9 pages
Research Article

Kidney-Tonifying Recipe Can Repair Alterations in Adrenal Medullary Chromaffin Cells in Asthmatic Rats

1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, China
2Department of Respiratory Medicine, The First People's Hospital of Changde, Changde 415003, China

Received 12 October 2011; Revised 18 December 2011; Accepted 26 December 2011

Academic Editor: Cheorl-Ho Kim

Copyright © 2012 Cheng-Ping Hu 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.


Traditional Chinese medicine suggests that renal deficiency is a causative factor of asthma, and tonifying kidney drugs are believed to be an appropriate and beneficial treatment. The adrenal medullary chromaffin cells (AMCC) transition to the neuronal phenotype is known to occur in asthma, as evidenced by degranulation of chromaffin granules, decline of epinephrine (EPI) and phenylethanolamine-n-methyl transferase (PNMT), and obvious alterations in cellular architecture. In this study, rats were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin, then treated with Kidney-Tonifying Recipe (KTR) to evaluate the therapeutic effect. Tissues were evaluated for changes in pathology and EPI, PNMT, and peripherin expression. Degranulation of chromaffin granules and appearance of neurite-like process were found in AMCC from asthmatic rats, and these changes were corrected by KTR treatment. EPI and PNMT expressions were decreased in asthmatic rats and increased by KTR treatment. Peripherin expression was increased in asthmatic rats and decreased in the KTR-treated group. Morphological changes and decreases in EPI were observed when cultured AMCC were exposed to sera from asthmatic rats in vitro, and these changes were attenuated with the addition of sera from KRT-treated rats. These results suggest that the Kidney-Tonifying Recipe is capable of repairing asthma-associated alterations in endocrine function and the ultrastructure of AMCC.