Chang Shan ....... "In The News"

Biomimicry: Emulating Nature’s Genius

Chang shan (常山) is a medicinal herb that has been used for well over 2000 years in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of malaria. Its popularity has dwindled as the popular Artemisinin herb (青蒿素) has replaced much of its use. However, it has recently been discovered that Chang shan has a selective suppressive effect on the immune system. This property has led to its use in a range of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and thyroiditis. In the past week I visited five different traditional chinese clinics with a hope to find out more information about this herb and its clinical use. All of the doctors I spoke to were aware of its use in malaria but were not aware of its recent application to autoimmune diseases. It seems as though this information has not yet trickled back down into the  traditional Chinese medical community.  To view full article click here!

The Scrippts Research Insitute  Jan 21, 2013
Volume 13.   Issue 2.   
The mysterious inner workings of Chang Shan—a Chinese herbal medicine used for thousands of years to treat fevers associated with malaria—have been uncovered thanks to a high-resolution structure solved at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). 

 Described recently in the journal Nature, the structure shows in atomic detail how a two-headed compound derived from the active ingredient in Chang Shan works. Scientists have known that this compound, called halofuginone (a derivative of the febrifugine), can suppress parts of the immune system—but nobody knew exactly how. 

The new structure shows that, like a wrench in the works, halofuginone jams the gears of a molecular machine that carries out “aminoacylation,” a crucial biological process that allows organisms to synthesize the proteins they need to live. Chang Shan, also known as Dichroa febrifuga Lour, probably helps with malarial fevers because traces of a halofuginone-like chemical in the herb interfere with this same process in malaria parasites, killing them in an infected person’s bloodstream.  To view full article click here!  

Secret Behind Chang Shan May 

Feb. 12, 2012 -- A new discovery about a 2,000-year-old Chinese herbal remedy derived from the roots of the blue evergreen hydrangea may pave the way for a new generation of targeted treatments for autoimmune disorders.

A new study suggests the Chinese herb known as Chang Shan selectively weakens the runaway immune response implicated in many autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritismultiple sclerosis, and psoriasis.

Researchers say the active ingredient in the Chinese herbal remedy, halofuginone (HF), blocks the development of a harmful type of immune cell called Th17 cells without disabling the immune system altogether.  To view full article click here!  

Published online
Febrifugine, the bioactive constituent of one of the 50 fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, has been characterized for its therapeutic activity, though its molecular target has remained unknown. Febrifugine derivatives have been used to treat malaria, cancer, fibrosis and inflammatory disease. We recently demonstrated that halofuginone (HF), a widely studied derivative of febrifugine, inhibits the development of TH17-driven autoimmunity in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis by activating the amino acid response (AAR) pathway.  Here we show that HF binds glutamyl-prolyl-tRNA synthetase (EPRS), inhibiting prolyl-tRNA synthetase activity; this inhibition is reversed by the addition of exogenous proline or EPRS. We further show that inhibition of EPRS underlies the broad bioactivities of this family of natural product derivatives. This work both explains the molecular mechanism of a promising family of therapeutics and highlights the AAR pathway as an important drug target for promoting inflammatory resolution.  To view full article click here! 
A small molecule better known for its anti-malarial properties can block the birth of the immune cells involved in autoimmune diseases without blocking crucial infection-fighting cells, report Harvard Medical and Dental School researchers. The findings in the June 5 Science suggest a potentially new therapeutic approach for some autoimmune diseases.
The molecule, called halofuginone, is derived from roots of a plant in the hydrangea family,Dichroa febrifuga, or blue evergreen hydrangea, which grows in Asia and is used in Chinese herbal medicine.  To view full article click here!  
WebMD Health News By Daniel J Denoon   June 4, 2009 
Study Shows Herb From Hydrangea Root Targets 
A drug derived from an herb used in Chinese medicine for 2,000 years is the first to target specific cells that are overactive inrheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and other autoimmune diseases. 
The ancient herb is chang shan, from the root of the blue evergreen hydrangea. It's been used in Chinese medicine to reduce fever and fight malaria.The ancient herb is chang shan, from the root of the blue evergreen hydrangea. It's been used in Chinese medicine to reduce fever and fight malaria. To view full article click here! 
Steven L. Reiner1,* 1  Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute and Department of Medicine,
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2007.03.019
In mammals, helper T cells orchestrate defense against diverse pathogens. However, these warriors of the immune system can also result in self-inflicted injury culminating in 
autoimmune and allergic diseases.   Recent findings—such as the discovery of the Th17 lineage—have revealed additional complexity in the fates chosen by helper T cells and have begun to reshape our view of how signaling and transcriptional networks generate appropriate and inappropriate immunity.  To view full article click here!   

Circuitry of cells involved in immunity, autoimmune diseases exposed

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 10:09am   Haley Bridger, Broad Communications

Just as the thin needle of a syringe can be inserted into the skin and cause no more than a small pinching sensation, silicon nanowires can be inserted into Th17 cells (shown here), causing minimal disruption. Using this new technology, researchers teased apart this immune cell's wiring. Image courtesy of Sigrid Kneymeyer, Broad Communications

New work from the Broad Institute’s Klarman Cell Observatory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University, MIT, and Yale University expands the understanding of how one type of immune cell—known as a T helper 17 or Th17 cell—develops, and how its growth influences the development of immune responses. By figuring out how these cells are “wired,” the researchers make a surprising connection between autoimmunity and salt consumption, highlighting the interplay of genetics and environmental factors in disease susceptibility. The results of their work appear in three companion papers in Nature this week.   To view full article click here! 


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