Protective Effects of Chinese Herbal Medicine Rhizoma drynariae in Rats After Traumatic Brain Injury and Identification of Active Compound

Wenzhu Wang, Haigang Li, Jintao Yu, Michael Hong, Jing Zhou, Lin Zhu, Yang Wang, Min Luo, Zian Xia, Zeng Jin Yang, Tao Tang, Ping Ren, Xi Huang, Jian Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in the USA. Effective therapeutic strategies for TBI are needed, and increasing attention is turning toward traditional herbal medicine. Rhizoma drynariae is a traditional Chinese medicine that has immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects. Here, using the controlled cortical impact model of TBI in rats, we examined whether oral administration of R. drynariae can reduce TBI-induced brain injury in rats. We also identified the likely active compound among its four major phytochemicals in decoction. We found that post-treatment with R. drynariae decreased brain lesion volume, improved neurologic and cognitive function, and reduced anxiety- and depression-like behaviors. These changes were accompanied by reduced blood levels of IL-6 and increased IL-10. R. drynariae treatment also reversed the TBI-induced decrease in blood monocyte numbers and percentage of blood CD3 and CD4 T lymphocytes while inhibiting microglial/macrophage activation. Furthermore, by using ultra performance liquid chromatography and comparing retention times with authentic standards, we identified eriodictyol as the putative active compound of R. drynariae extract in the blood of rats with TBI. These novel findings indicate that the traditional Chinese herbal medicine R. drynariae protects brain against TBI-induced brain injury, possibly via immune-promoting, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. Eriodictyol could be its active compound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4809-4820
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Microglia
  • Rhizoma drynariae
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • UPLC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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