Urological Research

, 36:17 | Cite as

A traditional Chinese herbal antilithic formula, Wulingsan, effectively prevents the renal deposition of calcium oxalate crystal in ethylene glycol-fed rats

  • Chou-Huang Tsai
  • Yu-Cheng Chen
  • Lieh-Der Chen
  • Tien-Chien Pan
  • Chien-Yi Ho
  • Ming-Tsung Lai
  • Fuu-Jen Tsai
  • Wen-Chi Chen
Original Paper


We investigated the effects of a traditional Chinese herbal formula, Wulingsan (WLS), on renal stone prevention using an ethylene glycol-induced nephrocalcinosis rat model. Forty-one male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were divided into four groups. Group 1 (n = 8) was the normal control; group 2 (n = 11) served as the placebo group, and received a gastric gavage of starch and 0.75% ethylene glycol (EG) as a stone inducer; group 3 received EG and a low dose of WLS (375 mg/kg); and group 4 received EG and a high dose of WLS (1,125 mg/kg). Baseline and final 24 h urine samples were collected individually; biochemical data of urine and serum were also obtained at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. After 4 weeks, animals were killed and kidneys were harvested. The kidney specimens were examined by polarized light microscopy and the crystal deposits were evaluated by a semi-quantitative scoring method using computer software (ImageScoring). The results revealed that the rats of placebo group gained the least significant body weight; in contrast, the rats of WLS-fed groups could effectively reverse it. The placebo group exhibited lower levels of free calcium (p = 0.059) and significantly lower serum phosphorus (p = 0.015) in urine than WLS-fed rats. Histological findings of kidneys revealed tubular destruction, damage and inflammatory reactions in the EG-water rats. The crystal deposit scores dropped significantly in the WLS groups, from 1.40 to 0.46 in the low-dose group and from 1.40 to 0.45 in the high-dose group. Overall, WLS effectively inhibited the deposition of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystal and lowered the incidence of stones in rats (p = 0.035). In conclusion, WLS significantly reduced the severity of calcium oxalate crystal deposits in rat kidneys, indicating that Wulingsan may be an effective antilithic herbal formula.


Calcium oxalate Ethylene glycol Traditional Chinese medicine Urinary stone Wulingsan 



This study was supported by a grant from the National Science Counsel of Taiwan (NSC 96-2314-B-039-005).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chou-Huang Tsai
    • 1
  • Yu-Cheng Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lieh-Der Chen
    • 3
  • Tien-Chien Pan
    • 1
    • 4
  • Chien-Yi Ho
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ming-Tsung Lai
    • 6
  • Fuu-Jen Tsai
    • 7
    • 8
  • Wen-Chi Chen
    • 9
    • 10
  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Chinese Medical Science, College of Chinese MedicineChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineChanghua Christian HospitalChanghuaTaiwan
  3. 3.School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese MedicineChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Integrated Chinese and Western MedicineChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of Family MedicineChina Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan
  6. 6.Department of Pathology, College of MedicineChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  7. 7.College of Chinese MedicineChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  8. 8.Asia UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  9. 9.Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, College of Chinese MedicineChina Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  10. 10.Department of UrologyChina Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan

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