Acute lung injury is the most common type of respiratory failure, characterised by changes in lung protein leaks, inflammatory cell accumulation, and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators in the lung, among others.
It has been linked to a high risk of mortality and morbidity in patients with clinical disorders such as sepsis, shock, and major trauma.
Velvet antler has been used mainly in China and Korea for many years for its pharmacological effects, such as immune system stimulation and physical strength boost.
Based on this, researchers in Taiwan conducted a study to determine the effect of aqueous extract of velvet antler on mice with lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury.
They later noted that a five-day pre-treatment of aqueous velvet antler "prevented histological alterations and enhanced antioxidant enzyme activity in lung tissues".
Pre-treatment with the extract also significantly lowered the total number of cells and proteins in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (collected from the right lung).
In addition, the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), as well as phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) proteins were blocked in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated macrophages and lipopolysaccharide-induced lung injury in mice.
In line with this, the phosphorylation of liver kinase B1 (LKB1), adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) was activated following treatment with aqueous velvet antler.
Health food potential?
The researchers wrote that these findings indicated that aqueous velvet antler "has anti-inflammatory effects in vivo and is a potential model for the development of health food.
"In addition, its pathways may be at least partially associated with inhibiting MAPK activation and upregulating AMPK pathways and the regulation of antioxidant enzyme activity".
In conclusion, they wrote: "The protective effect of aqueous velvet antler may be related to its ability to depress reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, enhance antioxidant status, and regulate pro-inflammatory cytokine production.
"Thus, we believe that the present study could be used as a promising ingredient in functional foods or nutraceuticals against inflammatory diseases."
"Preventive Effects of Velvet Antler (Cervus elaphus) against Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Acute Lung Injury in Mice by Inhibiting MAPK/NF- B Activation and Inducing AMPK/Nrf2 Pathways"
Authors: Jui-Shu Chang, et al.