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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2019, Article ID 1232913, 13 pages
Research Article

Effects of Huanglian-Renshen-Decoction, a Fixed Mixture of Traditional Chinese Medicine, on the Improvement of Glucose Metabolism by Maintenance of Pancreatic β Cell Identity in db/db Mice

Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, HuaZhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430030, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Fuer Lu; nc.ude.umjt.hjt@ulef

Received 11 October 2018; Revised 10 January 2019; Accepted 27 January 2019; Published 19 March 2019

Academic Editor: Min Li

Copyright © 2019 Fen Yuan 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.


Huanglian-Renshen-Decoction (HRD) is widely used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in China. However, the underlying mechanism is unclear. We aimed to investigate the mechanism by which HRD regulates the glucose level. Forty 7-8-week-old db/db (BSK) mice were randomly assigned to the following four groups: model, low dose HRD (LHRD), high dose HRD (HHRD), and saxagliptin (SAX). Additionally, 10 db/m mice were assigned to control group. The experimental mice were administered 3.03g/kg/d and 6.06g/kg/d of HRD in the LHRD and HHRD groups, respectively, and 10mg/kg/d saxagliptin in the SAX group for 8 weeks. The control and model groups were supplied with distilled water. After the intervention, the pancreas and blood were collected and tested. Compared with that of model group, the fasting blood glucose (FBG) was significantly decreased in all intervention groups (p < 0.05 or 0.01), whereas fasting serum insulin (FINS) was increased significantly in both HHRD and SAX groups. The immunofluorescence images showed that the mass of insulin+ cells was increased and that of glucagon+ cells was reduced obviously in experimental groups compared to those of the model group. In addition, the coexpression of insulin, glucagon, and PDX1 was decreased in HHRD group, and the level of caspase 12 in islet was decreased significantly in all intervention groups. However, little difference was found in the number and morphology of islet, and the expression of ki67, bcl2, bax, caspase 3, and cleaved-caspase 3 in the pancreas among groups. Interestingly, the cleaved-Notch1 level was increased and the Ngn3 level in islet was decreased significantly in HHRD group. The HRD showed dose-dependent effects on glucose metabolism improvement through maintenance of β cell identity via a mechanism that might involve the Notch1/Ngn3 signal pathway in db/db mice.