Pyranocoumarin Tissue Distribution, Plasma Metabolome and Prostate Transcriptome Impacts of Sub-Chronic Exposure to Korean Angelica Supplement in Mice

Jinhui Zhang, Li Li, Suni Tang, Yong Zhang, Maciej Markiewski, Chengguo Xing, Cheng Jiang, Junxuan Lü

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Herbal products containing Korean Angelica gigas Nakai (AGN) root extract are marketed as dietary supplements for memory enhancement, pain killing, and female menopausal symptom relief. We have shown the anticancer activities of AGN supplements in mouse models. To facilitate human anticancer translational research, we characterized the tissue distribution of AGN marker pyranocoumarin compounds decursin (D) and decursinol angelate (DA) (50% in AGN) and their metabolite decursinol (DOH), assessed the safety of sub-chronic AGN dietary exposure in mice, and explored its impact on plasma aqueous metabolites and the prostate transcriptome. The data show that after a gavage dose, plasma contained readily detectable DOH, but little D and DA, mirroring patterns in the liver. Extra-hepatic tissues retained greater levels of DA and D than the liver did. For sub-chronic exposures, male mice were provided ad libitum AIN93M-pellet diets with 0.5 and 1% AGN for six weeks. No adverse effects were observed on the plasma biochemistry markers of liver and kidney integrity in spite of their enlargement. Histopathological examinations of the liver, kidney and other visceral organs did not reveal tissue abnormalities. Metabolomic assessment of plasma from mice fed the 1%-AGN diet suggested metabolic shifts of key amino acids especially in the methionine-cysteine cycle, purine cycle, and glycolysis-citrate cycle. Prostate transcriptomic profiling identified gene signature changes in the metabolisms of drugs, lipids and cellular energetics, neuro-muscular features, immunity and inflammation, and tumor suppressor/oncogene balance. The safety profile was corroborated with a daily i.p. injection of AGN extract (100-300mg/kg) for four weeks, which resulted in much greater systemic pyranocoumarin exposure than the dietary route did.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-353
Number of pages33
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health grant AT007395 (J. L. C.X.), and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Preliminary Data Grant (J. Z.). The authors thank Dr. James Trybus, DVM (Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory Amarillo Laboratory) for evaluation of tissue specimens for histopathology and Wayne Chee, Pharm. D. and Mr. Debasish Basak for technical assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 World Scientific Publishing Company.


  • Angelica gigas Nakai
  • Decursin
  • Decursinol
  • Decursinol Angelate
  • Plasma Metabolome
  • Safety Assessment
  • Tissue Distribution


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