24 February 2016
Characterized by its acute onset, critical condition, poor prognosis, and high mortality rate, severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) can cause multiple organ failure at its early stage, particularly acute lung injury (ALI). The pathogenesis of ALI is diffuse alveolar damage, including an increase in pulmonary microvascular permeability, a decrease in compliance, and invasion of many inflammatory cells. Corticosteroids are the main treatment method for ALI; however, the associated high toxicity and side effects induce pain in patients. Recent studies show that the effective components in many traditional Chinese medicines can effectively inhibit inflammation with few side effects, which can decrease the complications caused by steroid consumption. Based on these observations, the main objective of the current study is to investigate the effect of alpinetin, which is a flavonoid extracted from Alpinia katsumadai Hayata, on treating lung injury induced by SAP and to explore the mechanism underlying the alpinetin-mediated decrease in the extent of ALI. In this study, we have shown through in vitro experiments that a therapeutic dose of alpinetin can promote human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cell proliferation. We have also shown via in vitro and in vivo experiments that alpinetin upregulates aquaporin-1 and, thereby, inhibits tumor necrosis factor-α expression as well as reduces the degree of lung injury. Overall, our study shows that alpinetin alleviates SAP-induced ALI. The likely molecular mechanism includes upregulated aquaporin expression, which inhibits tumor necrosis factor-α and, thus, alleviates SAP-induced ALI.