How Poria Cocos Extract Helps Reduce Acute Lung Injury

Jenn Hoskins
1st June, 2024

How Poria Cocos Extract Helps Reduce Acute Lung Injury

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Hubei University of Chinese Medicine found that Poria cocos oligosaccharides (PCO) significantly improved lung injury and reduced inflammation in mice
  • PCO alleviated lung edema by regulating proteins that maintain fluid balance in lung tissues
  • The study identified specific metabolic pathways and biomarkers that PCO modulates to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a significant medical condition that can escalate into acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe form of respiratory failure[2]. Various factors, including pneumonia, sepsis, and major trauma, can trigger ARDS, characterized by increased lung permeability, severe hypoxemia (low blood oxygen), and impaired carbon dioxide excretion. Current treatments, such as lung-protective ventilation, have improved survival rates, but there remains a need for novel therapeutics to enhance lung repair and recovery[2]. A recent study conducted by researchers at Hubei University of Chinese Medicine has explored the potential of Poria cocos oligosaccharides (PCO) in protecting against ALI[1]. Poria cocos, a medicinal fungus, contains biologically active ingredients such as polysaccharides and triterpenoids, known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties[3]. This study aimed to investigate the impact and mechanisms of PCO in mitigating lung injury induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component that can trigger severe inflammatory responses. The researchers conducted histopathological analyses on lung tissue to assess the extent of injury, inflammation, and edema (swelling due to fluid accumulation). They found that PCO significantly improved lung injury and reduced the levels of inflammatory cytokines in lung tissue. Cytokines are signaling proteins that mediate and regulate immunity and inflammation. High levels of these proteins typically indicate severe inflammation. In addition to reducing inflammation, PCO also alleviated lung edema. This was achieved by regulating the expression of aquaporin5 (AQP5) and epithelial Na+ channel protein (ENaC-α), which are crucial in maintaining fluid balance in lung tissues. Aquaporins are water channel proteins that facilitate water transport across cell membranes, while ENaC-α is involved in sodium transport, playing a role in fluid absorption and secretion in the lungs. To further understand the mechanisms behind these protective effects, the researchers performed untargeted metabolomics on the plasma of ALI mice using high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (HUPLC-Triple-TOF/MS). Metabolomics is the study of small molecules (metabolites) within cells, biofluids, tissues, or organisms. This analysis identified several biomarkers associated with ALI, including linoleic acid, linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, carnosine, glutamic acid, and 1-methylhistamine. These compounds are involved in various metabolic pathways related to inflammation and oxidative stress. The study suggested that PCO might exert its protective effects by modulating these metabolic pathways, particularly those involving histidine and fatty acids, which are closely linked to inflammatory and oxidative reactions in the body. By reducing pro-inflammatory mediators and reversing abnormal metabolic pathways, PCO helps mitigate the severity of lung injury and edema. These findings align with previous research on the pharmacological effects of Poria cocos, which has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties[3][4]. The diuretic activity of Poria cocos, particularly its ethyl acetate and n-butanol fractions, has been demonstrated to increase urinary excretion and regulate electrolyte balance, which may also contribute to its ability to alleviate edema in lung tissues[4]. In summary, the study conducted by Hubei University of Chinese Medicine provides compelling evidence that Poria cocos oligosaccharides can protect against acute lung injury by reducing inflammation and edema through the regulation of specific proteins and metabolic pathways. This research not only enhances our understanding of the therapeutic potential of Poria cocos but also opens new avenues for developing treatments for ALI and potentially ARDS, addressing a critical need in respiratory medicine.



Main Study

1) Metabolomic profile of plasma approach to investigate the mechanism of Poria cocos oligosaccharides attenuated LPS-induced acute lung injury in mice.

Published 29th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) The acute respiratory distress syndrome.

3) Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Activities of Wolfiporia cocos (F.A. Wolf) Ryvarden & Gilb.

4) Diuretic activity of some fractions of the epidermis of Poria cocos.

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