Weikangning therapy in functional dyspepsia and the protective role of Nrf2

Yujuan Chang, Wei Wei, Li Tong, Yanjun Liu, Aimin Zhou, Jiande Chen, Ruhan Wei, Ping Zhang, Xiaolan Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a non-organic gastrointestinal disorder that has a marked negative impact on quality of life. Compared with conventional pharmacological therapies, the traditional Chinese medicine weikangning (WKN) is a safe and effective treatment for FD. The present study aimed to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying the efficacy of WKN. The effect of different concentrations of WKN on the proliferation of the human gastric mucosal epithelial cell line GES-1 was assessed. The optimal WKN concentration to promote cell proliferation was determined, and this concentration was used to examine the effect of WKN compared with a domperidone-treated positive control group on the antioxidant capacity of GES-1 cells. The effect of WKN treatment on the growth and antioxidant activity of GES-1 cells was also assessed following nuclear factor erythroid 2 like 2 (Nrf2) knockdown. The optimal WKN dose for promoting cell growth was determined to be 0.025 mg/ml; at this concentration the expression of the antioxidant proteins glutathione S-transferase P and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) were significantly elevated (P<0.0001). Furthermore, the amount of reduced glutathione and activity of SOD2 were significantly increased (P<0.0001 and P<0.01, respectively), and malondialdehyde content was significantly decreased, compared with the controls (P<0.001). With WKN treatment, the transcription of Nrf2 and its downstream genes were significantly upregulated (P<0.01), and the level and nuclear distribution of Nrf2 protein was also markedly increased. Following Nrf2 silencing, the protective antioxidant effects of WKN treatment were impaired and GES-1 cell proliferation decreased. The results of the present study suggest that the efficacy of WKN in protecting gastric mucosal epithelial cells in FD is antioxidant-dependent and mediated by Nrf2 activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2885-2894
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental and Therapeutic Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Antioxidant capacity
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Gastric mucosal epithelial cell
  • Nuclear factor erythroid 2 like 2
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Weikangning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Cancer Research


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