Objective: Vasculitis is the basic pathological change of systemic lupus erythematosus
(SLE). Radix Paeoniae Rubra (RPR), a traditional Chinese herb with the function of reducing
blood stasis, has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. This study explored the
effects of RPR on the kidneys of lupus-like symptoms of mrl (MRL/lpr) mice from the perspective
of intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1)
and platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1).
Methods: Eighteen MRL/lpr lupus model mice were randomly divided into three groups, the
model control group, prednisone-treated group, and RPR-treated group, and 6 C57BL/ 6 mice were
classified as a control group. After the mice had been treated for 12 weeks, the expression of
ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and PECAM-1in the kidney was determined by immunohistochemistry and
Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR).
Results: After 12 weeks, there were significant differences in body weight in the model,
prednisone and RPR groups compared with the normal group (P <0.05). Pathological observation:
Compared with the model group, the proliferation of inflammatory cells infiltrated glomeruli and
interstitial cells in prednisone and RPR groups were reduced, and renal pathological damage was
reduced. Compared with the model group, urine protein level of prednisone and RPR groups were
reduced with no significance (P> 0.05). The mRNA expression levels of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1
were significantly reduced in the prednisone group and RPR group compared with the model group
(P <0.05 or P <0.01). Meanwhile, the immunohistochemistry expressions of ICAM-1 and VCAM-
1 expressed in the kidney were significantly reduced in the prednisone group and RPR group (P
<0.01 or P <0.05). However, The mRNA expression level and the immunohistochemistry
expressions of PECAM-1 expressed in the kidney were reduced in each treatment group
(prednisone group and RPR group), but these differences were not significant (P>0.05).
Conclusions: ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and PECAM-1 expression in the model group was found to be
significantly increased. In addition, RPR could reduce the expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and
PECAM-1 in MRL/lpr lupus mice as effectively as prednisone, which may result in the dosage
reduction of prednisone, thus decreasing the toxicity and improving the efficacy of prednisone -
based treatment of SLE.