Year of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Chinese Medicine.;Hong Kong Baptist Universtiy.

Principal Supervisor

Bian, Zhao Xiang


Herbs;Medicine, Chinese;Therapeutic use;Treatment;Ulcerative colitis




Ulcerative colitis (UC), a subset of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is a chronic uncontrolled inflammatory condition of the intestinal mucosa. As its etiology remains unclear, no specific effective treatment is available. Therefore, development of novel strategies for IBD treatment remains a major medical need. Qing-dai Powder (QDP), an ancient herbal medicinal formula, exerted potent therapeutic effect on intractable UC patients; however, evidence-based support is needed. The aims of this study are: i) to delineate the anti-colitis effect of QDP and its underlying mechanisms in murine colitis; 2) to explore the rationality of QDP formula; 3) to investigate the anti-colitis effects of major component(s) or/and active ingredient(s) of QDP and their underlying mechanisms in murine colitis. In the present study, the therapeutic effect of QDP on UC was investigated on dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced acute murine colitis. Results showed that i) QDP dose-dependently attenuated disease activity index (DAI), colon shortening, histological damage and colonic myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity of DSS-treated mice; ii) QDP significantly decreased the infiltration of immune cells, particularly macrophages and CD4+ T cells, colonic levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6, and plasma level of chemokine MCP-1. In RAW 264.7 cells, QDP significantly suppressed lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced the production of TNF-α and IL-6, and the expression levels of COX-2 and iNOS via inhibiting IкB-α degradation and p65 nuclear translocation; Also, in primary CD4+ T cells, QDP significantly suppressed the differentiation of Th1 and Th17 cells. These findings indicate that the anti-colitis effects of QDP might be associated with inhibition of inflammatory responses of colonic macrophages and CD4+ T cells. QDP is composed of Qing-dai and Ku-fan. The comparative study of anti-colitis of QDP, Qing-dai and Ku-fan revealed that QDP is a reasonable TCM formula, and Qing-dai is mainly responsible for the anti-colitis effect of QDP and Ku-fan exhibits a weak beneficial effect. Mechanistically, it was found that Qing-dai significantly suppressed Th1 and Th17 responses, characterized as i) suppressing mRNA expression of Th1 cytokine IFN-γ and Th17 cytokine IL-17A, inhibiting the production of Th1 and Th17-related cytokines IFN-γ, IL-17A/F and TNF-α in the colon of DSS-treated mice; ii) restraining the proportions of Th1 and Th17 cells in mesenteric lymph nodes of DSS-treated mice; iii) suppressing the differentiation of Th1 and Th17 cells in vitro. Indirubin is the principle active component of Qing-dai. It was found that indirubin significantly suppressed the generation of Th17 cells in DSS-treated mice, evidenced by i) suppressing the mRNA expression of IFN-γ, IL-17A, and RORγt, and inhibiting the production of IL-17A/F, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 in the colon of DSS-treated mice; ii) reducing Th17 cells in mesenteric lymph nodes of DSS-treated mice through reducing GSK-3β activity and p-STAT3 expression; iii) suppressing the differentiation of Th17 cells through down-regulating the expression of GSK-3β and p-STAT3 in vitro. In summary, the present study provides evidence-based support for the clinical use of QDP in the management of UC, and indicates that indirubin is the main active compound of QDP responsible for its anti-colitis effect.


Principal supervisor: Professor Bian Zhao Xiang. ; Thesis submitted to the School of Chinese Medicine. ; Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong Baptist University, 2015


Includes bibliographical references (pages 152-171)


The author retains all rights to this work. The author has signed an agreement granting HKBU a non-exclusive license to archive and distribute their thesis.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.