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Angelica Sinensis Sheds New Lights to Serve as Preventive Medicine for PM2.5-induced Morbidities: NSYSU Research Gains International Recognition
Publish date : 2018-02-13
The Compendium of Materia Medica on Chinese herbal medicine records that DangGui (Angelica Sinensis, AS) exhibits the capability to promote blood circulation and nourish the blood functionality. The research team led by NSYSU Associate Professor Chia-Chen Wang has scientifically proven, for the first time that the wisdom documented in the thousands of years of Chinese medicine legacy is not just incidental. The team has discovered the “phthalide derivatives”, the bioactive phyto-compounds in AS can indeed modulate and improve the hemoglobin oxygen transport efficiency. The research finding is published in the internationally renowned journal, Scientific Reports, and inspires future experiments on AS’s potential to be developed as the preventive medicine for PM2.5-related diseases.

The research was originated from a spark of inspiration while Prof. Wang was eating DangGui (AS) thin noodles; “everyone has heard that AS can promote blood circulation, and I was curious to find out whether that is true or not,” Wang said. To seek for the answers, therefore, Wang initiated the study on the effects of AS on blood functionality. By combining the resonance Raman spectroscopy, oxygen equilibrium experiments and molecular docking modeling, which took about 3.5-year, the research team has successfully proven that the bioactive phthalide derivatives of AS can indeed modulate Hb allostery and thus to decrease Hb’s oxygen affinity. By doing so, the efficiency of oxygen release to tissue cells can be enhanced.

“This is for the first time in the world that the efficacy of AS is scientifically proven at the molecular level,” Wang stressed. Even though AS is one of the most versatile and prevalently used herbal medicines since ancient times, this research finally proves its effect on promoting the blood functionality in transporting oxygen to organs and tissue cells in the body. This study will keep on going through animal experiments, clinical tests and safety dosage tests. The set of results is highly promising for the development of new drugs and preventive medicines, which may be applied to diseases related to hypoxia, including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.

Wang, who is also the Director of Aerosol Science Research Center, NSYSU, further points out that according to the report given by Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare released in June 2017, among the top ten causes of death, 7 of the diseases are found to be related the PM2.5 exposure. Thus, it is vital to investigate preventive strategies to address this urgent issue. Among the diseases related to PM2.5 exposure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one that is easily overlooked but is ranked as the third highest cause of death. Recent research has shown that every 10 μg/m3 increase of daily PM2.5 exposure of can increase 2.5% of COPD mortality rate. Wang states that when the lungs are obstructed, the efficiency of gas exchange of O2 and CO2 in the alveoli is impaired, and thus the organs and tissue cells of the body may become malfunction due to the hypoxia. Therefore, finding an effective way to improve the oxygen transportation and release may help prevent or alleviate the impacts of PM2.5 to the organs and tissue cells.

The research findings on the effects of bioactive phthalide derivatives of AS on Hb can be used to develop preventive medicine for PM2.5-related morbidities. The Aerosol Science Research Center, NSYSU led by Associate Professor Chia-Chen Wang currently actively collaborates with the domestic medical care systems and international research organizations to develop new medications and preventive strategies to reduce PM2.5 related diseases.
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