Basic Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Sep 21, 2020; 26(35): 5272-5286
Published online Sep 21, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i35.5272
New approach of medicinal herbs and sulfasalazine mixture on ulcerative colitis induced by dextran sodium sulfate
Mi-Rae Shin, Hae-Jin Park, Bu-Il Seo, Seong-Soo Roh
Mi-Rae Shin, Bu-Il Seo, Seong-Soo Roh, Department of Herbology, Korean Medicine College, Daegu Haany University, Suseong-gu, Deagu 42158, South Korea
Hae-Jin Park, DHU Bio Convergence Testing Center, Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 38610, South Korea
Author contributions: Shin MR performed the majority of experiments and wrote the paper; Park HJ and Seo BI analyzed the data; Roh SS designed and coordinated the research.
Supported by Traditional Korean Medicine R&D Program funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), No. HI15C00255; and National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (MSIP), No. 2018R1A5A2025272.
Institutional animal care and use committee statement: All procedures involving animals were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the Daegu Haany University (No. DHU2017-043).
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no competing financial interests related to this study or its publication.
Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.
ARRIVE guidelines statement: The authors have read the ARRIVE guidelines, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the ARRIVE guidelines.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Seong-Soo Roh, PhD, Director, Professor, Department of Herbology, Korean Medicine College, Daegu Haany University, 136 Shinchendong–ro, Suseong-gu, Deagu 42158, South Korea.
Received: April 1, 2020
Peer-review started: April 1, 2020
First decision: April 25, 2020
Revised: April 29, 2020
Accepted: August 25, 2020
Article in press: August 25, 2020
Published online: September 21, 2020

Sulfasalazine has been used as a standard-of-care in ulcerative colitis for decades, however, it results in severe adverse symptoms, such as hepatotoxicity, blood disorders, male infertility, and hypospermia. Accordingly, the new treatment strategy has to enhance pharmacological efficacy and stimultaneously minimize side effects.


To compare the anti-inflammatory action of sulfasalazine alone or in combination with herbal medicine for ulcerative colitis in a dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis mouse model.


To induce ulcerative colitis, mice received 5% DSS in drinking water for 7 d. Animals were divided into five groups (n = 9 each) for use as normal (non-DSS), DSS controls, DSS + sulfasalazine (30 mg/kg)-treatment experimentals, DSS + sulfasalazine (60 mg/kg)-treatment experimentals, DSS + sulfasalazine (30 mg/kg) + Citrus unshiu peel and Bupleuri radix mixture (30 mg/kg) (SCPB)-treatment experimentals.


The SCPB treatment showed an outstanding effectiveness in counteracting the ulcerative colitis, as evidenced by reduction in body weight, improvement in crypt morphology, increase in antioxidant defenses, down-regulation of proinflammatory proteins and cytokines, and inhibition of proteins related to apoptosis.


SCPB may represent a promising alternative therapeutic against ulcerative colitis, without inducing adverse effects.

Keywords: Dextran sulfate sodium, Ulcerative colitis, Anti-inflammatory, Sulfasalazine, Citrus unshiu peel and Bupleuri radix mixture, Apoptosis

Core Tip: Sulfasalazine has been used widely as a standard-of-care in ulcerative colitis; however, it is associated with a spectrum of side effects after long-term and high-dose intake. Since a single dose of sulfasalazine cannot provide satisfactory therapeutic results, we conducted a comparative evaluation of the pharmacological effect of sulfasalazine alone and when used in combination with Citrus unshiu peel and Bupleuri radix mixture in an experimentally-induced ulcerative colitis mouse model.