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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2017, Article ID 3780572, 9 pages
Review Article

Are the Therapeutic Effects of Huangqi (Astragalus membranaceus) on Diabetic Nephropathy Correlated with Its Regulation of Macrophage iNOS Activity?

1Department of Pharmacy, Shanxi Provincial People’s Hospital, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan 030012, China
2Department of Endocrinology, Shanxi Provincial People’s Hospital, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan 030012, China
3School of Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China
4Department of Medical Record & Statistics, Shanxi Provincial People’s Hospital, Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan 030012, China
5State Key Laboratory of Genetic Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200438, China
6School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Military Rd, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia
7Department of Nephrology, Shanxi Provincial People’s Hospital, Shanxi Medical University, Shanxi Kidney Disease Institute, No. 29 Shuangtasi Street, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030012, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Linda Banbury; moc.liamg@36yrubnabkl and Rongshan Li; moc.361@31ilnahsgnor

Received 6 July 2017; Revised 19 September 2017; Accepted 26 September 2017; Published 8 November 2017

Academic Editor: Hao Liu

Copyright © 2017 Hui Liao 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.


Objective. To investigate the correlation between the clinical effects of Huangqi (Astragalus membranaceus) on different stages of diabetic nephropathy (DN) and the pharmacological effect of Huangqi on the activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in macrophages in different states. Methods. The PubMed, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Wanfang databases were searched. Clinical data was sourced from papers on treatment of different stages of DN with Huangqi, and pharmacological data was from papers on the effects of Huangqi on the iNOS activity of macrophages in a resting or an activated state. Results. Meta-analysis of Huangqi injections on stages III and III-IV DN and randomized controlled trials on other stages showed that Huangqi had therapeutic effects on different stages of DN and on macrophages in different states: inducing normal macrophages in a resting state to generate nitric oxide (NO), tumor necrosis factor-α, and so forth upon iNOS activation; inhibiting NO generation by normal lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) activated macrophages; and enhancing NO generation by LPS-induced macrophages from patients with renal failure. Conclusions. Huangqi can regulate iNOS activity of macrophages in different states in vitro. These biphasic or antagonistic effects may explain why Huangqi can be used to treat different stages of DN.