SMS, a famous Chinese medicinal formula that has been used for more than 800 years in China, is comprised of three herbal components, Panax ginseng, Shisandra chinensis, and Ophiopogon japonicus (9). Traditionally, SMS is used for the treatment of excess loss of essence qi and body fluid that threatens heart failure. It can restore blood volume and prevent myocardial infarction. SMS is also prescribed for patients with coronary heart disease and various cardiovascular disorders.
Ancient TCM theory states that the physical condition of the human body is controlled by the interaction of five elemental organs, heart, liver, kidney, lung, and spleen, although the nature of these organs is not the same as understood in Western medicine. The brain was not classified in the five elemental organs but its function is considered strictly related to liver, kidney, and heart functions. Therefore, it is worth examining protective effects on cerebral oxidative damage by TCM prescriptions that have been used for treating complex diseases, especially related to heart, lung, or kidney failure. In this sense, it is interesting to study the effect of SMS on cerebral oxidative injury.
We first examined the antioxidant property of SMS by five different antioxidant assays in vitro and the antioxidant activity was compared using Trolox as the reference antioxidant in each antioxidant assays. (Table 1). Interestingly, SMS was found to have extremely strong hydroxyl-radical-scavenging activity. This characteristic was emphasized when the antioxidant activity was compared with those determined for four typical TCM or Kampo (Japanese traditional herbal prescriptions) formulations that have been tested for post stroke treatment or dementia: Cho-To-San, Zokumei-To, Ryou-Kei-Jutsu-Kan-To, and Keishi-Bukuryo-Gan + Yokuinin. All these prescriptions commonly had stronger scavenging activity toward superoxide radical than
TABLE 1 Antioxidant Potential of SMS as Trolox Equivalent Determined by Several In Vitro Assay Systems
SMS IC20 as
Antioxidant assay Trolox equivalent (aM)
TBARS formation 5
DPPH quenching 3.2
Crocin bleaching test 1.1
Superoxide radical scavenging 200
Hydroxyl radical scavenging 0.4
to other radicals but SMS did not. In contrast, SMS had strong hydroxyl-radical-scavenging potential (Fig. 1).
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