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Original Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2023; 27(6): 513-520

Published online November 1, 2023

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Cornuside inhibits glucose-induced proliferation and inflammatory response of mesangial cells

Xiaoxin Li1,2, Lizhong Guo2,*, Fei Huang3, Wei Xu4, and Guiqing Peng5

1Prevention Medicine, Suzhou TCM Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Suzhou 215009, 2Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, 3Department of Endocrinology, 4Cardiovascular Department, 5Respiratory Department, Suzhou TCM Hospital Affiliated to Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Suzhou 215009, China

Correspondence to:Lizhong Guo

Author contributions: X.L. performed most of the experiments and wrote the manuscript. F.H., W.X., and G.P. conducted some of the experiments. L.G. designed the study and revised the manuscript.

Received: February 16, 2023; Revised: June 26, 2023; Accepted: July 18, 2023

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cornuside is a secoiridoid glucoside compound extracted from the fruits of Cornus officinalis. Cornuside has immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties; however, its potential therapeutic effects on diabetic nephropathy (DN) have not been completely explored. In this study, we established an in vitro model of DN through treating mesangial cells (MMCs) with glucose. MMCs were then treated with different concentrations of cornuside (0, 5, 10, and 30 μM). Cell viability was determined using cell counting kit-8 and 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine assays. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and IL-1β were examined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting were performed to detect the expression of AKT and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB)-associated genes. We found that cornuside treatment significantly reduced glucose-induced increase in MMC viability and expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Moreover, cornuside inhibited glucose-induced phosphorylation of AKT and NF-κB inhibitor alpha, decreased the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and cyclin D1, and increased the expression of p21. Our study indicates that the anti-inflammatory properties of cornuside in DN are due to AKT and NF-κB inactivation in MMCs.

Keywords: Complementary therapies, Diabetic nephropathies, Glucose, Growth, Inflammation