Danggui buxue tang--a Chinese herbal decoction activates the phosphorylations of extracellular signal-regulated kinase and estrogen receptor alpha in cultured MCF-7 cells.FEBS Lett. 2007 Jan 23; 581(2):233-40.FL
Danggui buxue tang (DBT), a Chinese herbal decoction used to treat ailments in women, contains radix Astragali (Huangqi; RA) and radix Angelicae Sinensis (Danggui; RAS). The weight ratio of RA to RAS used in DBT must be 5:1 as stipulated as early as AD 1247; however, DBT's mechanism of action has never been described. Here, the estrogenic effects of DBT were investigated by determining the phosphorylations of estrogen receptor alpha (ER alpha) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) in cultured MCF-7 cells. The application of DBT triggered the phosphorylation of ER alpha and Erk1/2 in a time-dependent manner. In contrast to the effect of estrogen, DBT triggered ER alpha phosphorylation at both S118 and S167. This DBT-specific phosphorylation was not triggered by an extract of one of the individual herbs, or by mixing the extracts of RA and RAS. DBT-induced downstream signals are described here. These signals suggest the uniqueness of this Chinese herbal decoction that requires a well-defined formulation.