Aim: To evaluate the role of intestinal microflora in the effects of multi-herbal medicine on gene expression in the gut and liver. Methods: The multi-herbal medicine Juzentaihoto (JTX) was administered to five germ-free mice and regular mice for 2 wk. Among the results of the comprehensive gene chip analysis of the intestine and liver, we featured heat shock proteins (HSPs) 70 and 105 because their gene expression changed only in the presence of microflora. Real-time RT-PCR was performed to confirm the expression levels of these HSP genes. To determine whether JTX acts directly on the HSP genes, sodium arsenite (SA) was used to induce the heat shock proteins directly. To examine the change of the intestinal microflora with administration of JTX, the terminal restriction fragment polymorphism (T-RFLP) method was used. To identify the changed bacteria, DNA sequencing was performed. Results: Heat shock protein gene expression, documented by gene chip and real-time RT-PCR, changed with the administration of JTX in the regular mice but not in the germ-free mice. JTX did not suppress the direct induction of the HSPs by SA. T-RFLP suggested that JTX decreased unculturable bacteria and increased Lactobacillus johnsoni. These data suggested that JTX changed the intestinal microflora which, in turn, changed HSP gene expression. Conclusion: Intestinal microflora affects multi-herbal product JTX on the gene expression in the gut and liver.
- Heat shock protein
- Herbal medicine
- Intestinal microflora
- Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism
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