Medline ® Abstract for Reference 67
Sho-saiko-to: Japanese herbal medicine for protection against hepatic fibrosis and carcinoma.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000;15 Suppl:D84.
Herbal medicines, which have been used in China for thousands of years, are now being manufactured in Japan, in standardized form in terms of quality and quantities of ingredients. The Chinese herbal medicine Sho-saiko-to is a mixture of seven herbal preparations, which is widely administered in Japan to patients with chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. In a prospective study, this herbal medicine was found to play a chemopreventive role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in cirrhotic patients. However, little is known about the mechanism by which Sho-saiko-to protects against hepatic fibrosis and carcinoma. Several laboratories, including ours, have clearly demonstrated the preventive and therapeutic effects of Sho-saiko-to on experimental hepatic fibrosis, as well as its inhibitory effect on the activation of hepatic stellate cells, which are the major types of collagen-producing cells. We provided evidence that Sho-saiko-to functions as a potent anti-fibrosuppressant via the inhibition of oxidative stress in hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells and that its active components are baicalin and baicalein. In addition, Sho-saiko-to has anti-carcinogenic properties in that it inhibits chemical hepatocarcinogenesis in animals, acts as a biological response modifier and suppresses the proliferation of hepatoma cells by inducing apoptosis and arrests the cell cycle. Among the active components of Sho-saiko-to, baicalin, baicalein and saikosaponin-a have the ability to inhibit cell proliferation. It should be noted that baicalin and baicalein are flavonoids with chemical structures very similar to silybinin, which shows anti-fibrogenic activities. This may provide valuable information on the search for novel anti-fibrogenic agents.
Second Department of Internal Medicine, Tokushima University School of Medicine, Japan. firstname.lastname@example.org