Clara B S Lau

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Publications (41)109.75 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In this study, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine—PentaHerbs formula (PHF), usually used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, was successfully coated onto cotton fabrics by means of dyeing methods, i.e., mordant dyeing and direct dyeing process. Alum, copper sulphate and calcium chloride were used as mordant agents, and the mordanting processes adopted were pre-mordanting and post-mordanting process. The coated cotton fabrics with herbal medicine were mainly analyzed in terms of colour strength (K/S value) and drug loading using spectrophotometric analysis. Besides, the change of weight of the coated fabrics was also measured via gravimetric method. It was found that the mordanting process could significantly improve the drug loading, especially for the pre-mordanting process, compared with the direct dyeing method. Among the three mordants, alum treated fabrics had the highest drug loading. The results indicate that mordant dyeing process might be a promising way to develop herbal medicine garments. © 2015, The Korean Fiber Society and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Fibers and Polymers
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The aims of this study were to identify the active ingredients from Portulaca oleracea L. (PO) that could provide synergism with antibiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and their possible mechanisms of resistance inhibition.Methods High-speed counter-current chromatography (HSCCC) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and a panel of laboratory MRSA strains were used for checkerboard and efflux inhibitory assays.Key findingsLinoleic and oleic acids were identified from HSCCC fraction 18 of PO with synergistic antibacterial activity when combined with erythromycin against RN4220/pUL5054. Ethidium bromide efflux inhibitory studies revealed that linoleic and oleic acids may interfere the activity of MsrA pump. By comparing among a panel of linoleic and oleic acids analogues, unsaturated fatty acids in salt form with cis configuration and an increase in number of double bonds were found to further increase the antibacterial activity when used alone or in combination with antibiotics.Conclusion This study reported for the first time that two active ingredients, namely linoleic and oleic acids, were identified from PO with synergistic antibacterial activity when combined with erythromycin against MRSA RN4220/pUL5054 and possibly act by inhibiting the efflux pumps of the bacteria cells.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Pancreas
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    ABSTRACT: Bitter melon, the fruit of Momordica charantia L. (Cucurbitaceae), is a widely-used treatment for diabetes in traditional medicine systems throughout the world. Various compounds have been shown to be responsible for this reputed activity, and, in particular, cucurbitane triterpenoids are thought to play a significant role. The objective of this study was to investigate the gastrointestinal transport of a triterpenoid-enriched n-butanol extract of M. charantia using a two-compartment transwell human intestinal epithelial cell Caco-2 monolayer system, simulating the intestinal barrier. Eleven triterpenoids in this extract were transported from the apical to basolateral direction across Caco-2 cell monolayers, and were identified or tentatively identified by HPLC-TOF-MS. Cucurbitane triterpenoids permeated to the basolateral side with apparent permeability coefficient (P app) values for 3-β-7-β,25-trihydroxycucurbita-5,23(E)-dien-19-al and momordicines I and II at 9.02 × 10(-6), 8.12 × 10(-6), and 1.68 × 10(-6) cm/s, respectively. Also, small amounts of these triterpenoids were absorbed inside the Caco-2 cells. This is the first report of the transport of the reputed antidiabetic cucurbitane triterpenoids in human intestinal epithelial cell monolayers. Our findings, therefore, further support the hypothesis that cucurbitane triterpenoids from bitter melon may explain, at least in part, the antidiabetic activity of this plant in vivo.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Planta Medica

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · European Journal of Integrative Medicine

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · European Journal of Integrative Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: The study objective was to evaluate the composition of a neutral and weakly acidic water-soluble extract from Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench (EchNWA) previously shown to modify murine influenza infection, and to assess immunomodulatory effects on human T-cells. EchNWA extract from fresh aerial parts was extracted with water, ethanolic precipitation, and size-exclusion chromatography. The chemical profile of EchNWA was characterized by chromatography (size-exclusion, HPLC, GC-MS), and small molecule fingerprint analysis performed by HPLC-PDA. Jurkat T-cells at high and low cell density were pretreated or not with doses of EchNWA, followed by activation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate plus ionomycin (PMA+I). Interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma (IFNg) cytokine secretions were measured by multi-cytokine luminex technology. Results showed that EchNWA contains 80% polysaccharides, predominantly a 10 kDa entity; phenolic compounds, cynarin, cichoric and caftaric acids, but no detectable alkylamides. Cytokine production required stimulation and was lower after PMA+I activation in high-density compared to low-density conditions. EchNWA mediated a strong dose-dependent enhancement of high-density T-cell production of IL-2 and IFNg response to PMA+I. EchNWA alone did not stimulate T-cells. EchNWA enhanced mean fluorescence intensity of IL-2 in Jurkat T-cells activated by PMA+1 or ionomycin alone. Conversely EchNWA mediated modest but significant suppression of IFNg response and reduced the percentage of CD25+ T-cells under low-density conditions. Conclusions are that EchNWA polysaccharides, but not phenolic compounds have dose-related adjuvant effects on human T-cell cytokine responses characterized by enhancing and suppressive effects that are regulated by T-cell density.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · International immunopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: This study aims to determine the effect of metronomic (0.0125 mg/kg twice a week for 4 weeks) zoledronic acid (ZOL) on cancer propagation and osteolysis against both metastatic and primary breast cancer in mice model. From our results, metronomic ZOL resulted in a significant reduction of tumor burden and did not promote lung or liver metastasis. The metronomic ZOL appeared to be more effective than the conventional regimen (0.1 mg/kg once in 4 weeks) in reducing breast cancer tumor burden, and regulating its movement to lung and liver. This dosing schedule of ZOL showed great potential against metastatic breast cancer.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Cancer letters
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    ABSTRACT: Medicinal mushrooms have been traditionally used as food nutrient supplements in China for thousands of years. The present study aimed to evaluate the immunomodulatory activities of Ganoderma sinense (GS), an allied species of G. lucidum, using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Our results showed that the polysaccharide-enriched fraction of GS hot water extract (400 μg/ml) exhibited significant stimulatory effects on PBMC proliferation. When the fruiting bodies of GS were divided into pileus and stipe parts and were separately extracted, the GS stipe polysaccharide-enriched fraction (50-400 μg/ml) showed concentration-dependent immunostimulating effects in PBMC. The productions of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-10, and transforming growth factor -β were significantly enhanced by this fraction. In addition, the proportion of CD14(+) monocyte subpopulation within the PBMC was specifically increased. The IL-10 and IL-12 productions in monocyte-derived dendritic cells were significantly enhanced by GS stipe fraction. The composition of monosaccharides of this fraction was determined by ultra performance liquid chromatography and ion exchange chromatography. Our study demonstrated for the first time the immunostimulatory effects of GS stipe polysaccharide-enriched fraction on PBMC and dendritic cells. The findings revealed the potential use of GS (especially including the stipes of fruiting bodies) as adjuvant nutrient supplements for patients, who are receiving immunosuppressive chemotherapies.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Nutrition and Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) worldwide with limited therapeutic options is a growing public health concern. Natural products have been shown to possess antibacterial actions against MRSA. Flavonoids from natural products have been shown to possess antibacterial actions against MRSA by antagonizing its resistance mechanisms. Diosmin and diosmetin are natural flavonoids found in a variety of citrus fruits. The aim of this study was to investigate whether diosmin and diosmetin could inhibit the growth of MRSA and the in vitro enzymatic activity of a newly discovered MRSA drug target, pyruvate kinase (PK). By using a panel of MRSA strains with known resistant mechanisms, neither diosmin nor diosmetin was shown to possess direct antibacterial activities against all tested MRSA strains. However, in checkerboard assay, we found that diosmetin together with erythromycin, could synergistically inhibit the growth of ABC-pump overexpressed MRSA-RN4220/pUL5054, and time kill assay also showed that the antibacterial activities of diosmetin with erythromycin were bactericidal. Diosmetin was further shown to significantly suppress the MRSA PK activities in a dose dependent manner. In conclusion, the inhibition of MRSA PK by diosmetin could lead to a deficiency of ATP and affect the bacterial efflux pump which might contribute to the antibacterial actions of diosmetin against MRSA.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Pentaherb formula (PHF) has been proven to improve the quality of life of children with atopic dermatitis without side effects. The aim of this study was to elucidate the potential anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic activities of PHF, Moutan Cortex (Danpi/DP) and gallic acid (GA) using human basophils (KU812 cells), which are crucial effector cells in allergic inflammation. PHF, DP and GA could significantly suppress the expression of allergic inflammatory cytokine IL-33-upregulated intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, and the release of chemokines CCL2, CCL5, CXCL8 and inflammatory cytokine IL-6 from KU812 cells (all p < 0.05). With the combined use of dexamethasone (0.01 μg/mL) and GA (10 μg/mL), the suppression of ICAM-1 expression and CCL5 and IL-6 release of IL-33-activated KU812 cells were significantly greater than the use of GA alone (all p < 0.05). The suppression of the IL-33-induced activation of intracellular signalling molecules p38 mitogen activated protein kinase, nuclear factor-kB and c-Jun amino-terminal kinase in GA-treated KU812 cells could be the underlying mechanism for the suppression on ICAM-1, chemokines and cytokines. The combined use of dexamethasone with the natural products PHF or DP or GA might therefore enhance the development of a novel therapeutic modality for allergic inflammatory diseases with high potency and fewer side effects.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Molecules
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    ABSTRACT: Bigelovin is a sesquiterpene lactone isolated from the plant Inula helianthus-aquatica which was traditionally used in cancer treatment in Yunnan, China. The potent apoptotic activities of bigelovin in human leukemia U937 cells were shown in our previous study. The present study investigated the anti-angiogenic and immunomodulatory effects of bigelovin using transgenic zebrafish Tg(fli1a:EGFP)y1 with fluorescent blood vessels and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), respectively. Furthermore, the inhibitory activities of bigelovin on the human endothelial cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) were also examined. Our results showed that the growth of subintestinal vessels of the bigelovin-treated zebrafish embryos was significantly inhibited and the gene expressions in angiogenesis signaling pathways (e.g. Ang2 and Tie2) of the zebrafish were down-regulated after bigelovin treatment. Besides, the proliferation and Th1 cytokines productions (e.g. IFN-γ, IL-2 and IL-12) were suppressed in bigelovin-treated PBMCs. On the other hand, bigelovin was shown to significantly inhibit the human monocyte adhesion to human endothelial cells and the gene expressions of inflammation-related CAMs (e.g. ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and E-selectin) were significantly down-regulated in bigelovin-treated human endothelial cells. In summary, our data provide the first evidence that bigelovin possesses anti-angiogenic and immunomodulatory activities, suggesting bigelovin may exert multi-target functions against cancer in animal models.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Tony K M Shing · Ho T Wu · H F Kwok · Clara B S Lau
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    ABSTRACT: A series of chiral hydroxylated enones were synthesized as COTC ether analogues to investigate the structural features required for optimal and selective anti-tumor activity. The cytotoxicity of the seven COTC ether analogues against WRL-68 normal and HepG2, HL-60 cancer cell lines were measured. C-4 ether analogues with an aliphatic chain substituent were found to be more favorable than their aromatic counterparts. Inversion of the configuration at C-4 in 5e to give 5f only resulted in reduced selectivity towards cancer cells. These results show that 4-O-pentyl-gabosine D (5e) has optimum selectivity and cytotoxicity towards two cancer cell lines.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters
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    L Y Tang · L Li · A Borchert · Clara B S Lau · P C Leung · C C Wang
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    ABSTRACT: Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome (LAR) is the most commonly used Chinese herbal medicine for threatened miscarriage. Potential reproductive toxicity of LAR was identified in early pregnancy in animals. Skeletal anomalies including loss of ulna and distal digits, shortening of humerus and radius were observed in higher clinical dose groups. Here, we aimed to study the molecular mechanism of the congenital malformation induced by LAR. In vitro whole mouse embryo culture was used to confirm the embryotoxicity effects of LAR on developing limb buds during early organogenesis. A pregnant mouse model was employed to study the developmental gene expression by quantitative PCR and whole hybridization and apoptosis by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling staining, in the forelimbs and hindlimbs during development in vivo. Severe growth retardation, multiple embryonic malformations and delayed limb bud development were observed. Limb-specific Tbx gene expressions in both developing forelimbs and hindlimbs were significantly decreased. Increased developmental apoptosis in apical ectodermal ridge and mesenchymal mesoderm of the developing limb buds was identified. Overexpressions of Tbx2 and Tbx3 in embryos in vitro rescued LAR-induced abnormal limb development and reduced apoptosis in the developing forelimb buds. In conclusion, LAR affects limb development by suppressing the expression of limb developmental genes and disturbing programmed cell death during limb formation in mice.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Molecular Human Reproduction
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    ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect early and responds poorly to chemotherapy. A breakthrough in the development of new therapeutic agents is urgently needed. Eriocalyxin B (EriB), isolated from the Isodon eriocalyx plant, is an ent-kaurane diterpenoid with promise as a broad-spectrum anti-cancer agent. The anti-leukemic activity of EriB, including the underlying mechanisms involved, has been particularly well documented. In this study, we demonstrated for the first time EriB's potent cytotoxicity against four pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines, namely PANC-1, SW1990, CAPAN-1, and CAPAN-2. The effects were comparable to that of the chemotherapeutic camptothecin (CAM), but with much lower toxicity against normal human liver WRL68 cells. EriB's cytoxicity against CAPAN-2 cells was found to involve caspase-dependent apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase. Moreover, the p53 pathway was found to be activated by EriB in these cells. Furthermore, in vivo studies showed that EriB inhibited the growth of human pancreatic tumor xenografts in BALB/c nude mice without significant secondary adverse effects. These results suggest that EriB should be considered a candidate for pancreatic cancer treatment.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Chinese herbal medicine has long been used as a treatment for wounds. However, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. In this study it was shown that the proliferation of keratinocytes, which is known to play an important role in wound healing as the major cell type in the epidermis, was promoted by three herbal extracts/natural compounds: NF3 (an extract from the mixture of Radix Astragali (RA) and Radix Rehmanniae (RR) in the ratio of 2:1), stachyose (an isolated compound from Radix Rehmanniae) and extract P2-2 (a sub-fraction from the extract of Radix Astragali). The effect of the herbal extracts/natural compounds on the growth of keratinocytes was not influenced by a high glucose level, a condition similar to diabetic patients who usually suffer from diabetic foot ulcers. Real time RT-PCR results showed that the expression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor, but not transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) receptor, was up-regulated by NF3. Moreover, treatments with the EGF receptor kinase inhibitor AG1478 and the MEK inhibitor U0126 resulted in the diminishment of the effect of the three herbal extracts/natural compounds on keratinocyte proliferation, indicating that EGF receptor might have a significant role in this action. This study has further elucidated the molecular mechanism under which herbal extracts/natural compounds exert their effects on the wound healing process. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Phytotherapy Research
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the effects of Radix Astragali (RA) and Radix Rehmanniae (RR), the major components of an anti-diabetic foot ulcer herbal formula (NF3), on the metabolism of model probe substrates of human CYP isoforms, CYP1A2, CYP2C9, CYP2D6, CYP2E1 and CYP3A4, which are important in the metabolism of a variety of xenobiotics. The effects of RA or RR on human CYP1A2 (phenacetin O-deethylase), CYP2C9 (tolbutamide 4-hydroxylase), CYP2D6 (dextromethorphan O-demethylase), CYP2E1 (chlorzoxazone 6-hydroxylase) and CYP3A4 (testosterone 6β-hydroxylase) activities were investigated using pooled human liver microsomes. NF3 competitively inhibited activities of CYP2C9 (IC(50)=0.98mg/ml) and CYP3A4 (IC(50)=0.76mg/ml), with K(i) of 0.67 and 1.0mg/ml, respectively. With specific human CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 isoforms, NF3 competitively inhibited activities of CYP2C9 (IC(50)=0.86mg/ml) and CYP3A4 (IC(50)=0.88mg/ml), with K(i) of 0.57 and 1.6mg/ml, respectively. Studies on RA or RR individually showed that RR was more important in the metabolic interaction with the model CYP probe substrates. RR dose-dependently inhibited the testosterone 6β-hydroxylation (K(i)=0.33mg/ml) while RA showed only minimal metabolic interaction potential with the model CYP probe substrates studied. This study showed that RR and the NF3 formula are metabolized mainly by CYP2C9 and/or CYP3A4, but weakly by CYP1A2, CYP2D6 and CYP2E1. The relatively high K(i) values of NF3 (for CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 metabolism) and RR (for CYP3A4 metabolism) would suggest a low potential for NF3 to cause herb-drug interaction involving these CYP isoforms.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: The rhizome of Curcuma longa (turmeric) is often used in Asia as a spice and as a medicine. Its most well-studied component, curcumin, has been shown to exhibit poor bioavailability in animal studies and clinical trials. We hypothesized that the presence of lipophilic components (e.g., turmerones) in turmeric extract would affect the absorption of curcumin. The effects of turmerones on curcumin transport were evaluated in human intestinal epithelial Caco-2 cells. The roles of turmerones on P-glycoprotein (P-gp) activities and mRNA expression were also evaluated. Results showed that in the presence of α- and aromatic turmerones, the amount of curcumin transported into the Caco-2 cells in 2 hours was significantly increased. α-Turmerone and verapamil (a P-gp inhibitor) significantly inhibited the efflux of rhodamine-123 and digoxin (i.e., inhibited the activity of P-gp). It is interesting that aromatic turmerone significantly increased the rhodamine-123 efflux and P-gp (MDR1 gene) mRNA expression levels. The effects of α- and aromatic turmerones on curcumin transport as well as P-gp activities were shown here for the first time. The presence of turmerones did affect the absorption of curcumin in vitro. These findings suggest the potential use of turmeric extract (including curcumin and turmerones), rather than curcumin alone, for treating diseases.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of medicinal food
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    L Li · L Y Tang · Gene C W Man · Benson H Y Yeung · Clara B S Lau · P C Leung · C C Wang
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    ABSTRACT: Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome (LAR) is the most commonly used Chinese medicine to prevent early pregnancy loss due to threatened miscarriage. However, its safety profile during pregnancy is still not available. Here we aimed to identify the potential adverse effects of LAR on embryo-fetal development as well as prenatal and post-natal growth. Pregnant mice, rats and rabbits were orally administered with LAR extracts in various doses (from 1×, 2×, 3× and up to 6× clinical doses) at different gestational periods (implantation, gastrulation, organogenesis, maturation and whole gestation). Maternal effects on weight loss, implantation failure and fetal resorption and perinatal effects on developmental delay, growth restriction and congenital malformations were studied. In mice, with early LAR exposure, a significant decrease in fetal growth parameters and a significant increase in post-implantation loss were identified. With late LAR exposure, significant increases in gestational duration as well as prenatal and post-natal mortality were found. At high clinical doses, congenital skeletal malformations were recorded. In rabbits, fetal resorption, hydrops fetalis and short ear anomaly were observed. No significant adverse effects were found in rats. Potential reproductive toxicity of LAR in pregnant animals was identified within the clinical dose. Caution should be taken in clinical applications of LAR during pregnancy.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Human Reproduction
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    ABSTRACT: The use of health supplements derived from medicinal herbs as self-medication for the relief of respiratory tract pathology symptoms is increasing in Chinese communities as air pollution is worsening. Twelve herbs from two formulae of our previous studies were evaluated for their anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and bronchorelaxant activities in this study. Among the extracts tested, those of Herba Schizonepetae and Radix Glycyrrhizae showed significant inhibitory effects on LPS-induced nitric oxide production (p < 0.05) in mouse macrophage RAW264.7 cells, suggesting their anti-inflammatory activities. Radix Scutellariae and Radix Glycyrrhizae extracts showed significant inhibitory effects on phytohaemagglutinin-induced proliferation in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (p < 0.05). These extracts also showed inhibition of TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-10 production. For the bronchorelaxant assay, Rhizoma Cynanchi Stauntonii and Radix Glycyrrhizae extracts showed potent attenuation of the acetylcholine- and carbachol-induced contractions in rat trachea (p < 0.05), implying their relaxant activities. In conclusion, Herba Schizonepetae, Radix Glycyrrhizae, Radix Scutellariae and Rhizoma Cynanchi Stauntonii extracts were demonstrated to exert anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and bronchorelaxant activities, which may help to ameliorate the symptoms of respiratory tract pathologies. The findings have thus provided some scientific evidence on the efficacy and mechanisms of action of these herbs, which are useful for the further development of clinical applications.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Phytotherapy Research