Effects of rikkunshito supplementation on resistance to oxidative stress and lifespan in mice

Zi Wang, Toshimitsu Komatsu, Yoshihisa Ohata, Yukari Watanabe, Yiwen Yuan, Yuki Yoshii, Seongjoon Park, Ryoichi Mori, Motoyasu Satou, Yoshitaka Kondo, Isao Shimokawa, Takuya Chiba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Caloric restriction (CR), which limits the caloric intake to 60–70% of ad libitum (AL) amounts in various experimental animals, delays aging and extends the lifespan. We previously showed that neuropeptide Y (NPY), an appetite-stimulating peptide, is essential for the anti-oxidative and life-extending effects of CR. Here, we investigated whether a Japanese traditional herbal medicine, rikkunshito (RKT), which induces NPY activation, has CR-like life-extending effects. Methods: First, we evaluated the life-extending activity of RKT by examining the effect of long-term RKT administration on wild-type and NPY knockout mice. Furthermore, we tested whether RKT enhances CR-mediated beneficial effects under AL conditions with a normal diet and under mild CR conditions with a high-fat diet. We then used 3-nitropropionic acid or doxorubicin to induce oxidative stress, and analyzed the differences in survival rate, weight loss, gene expression and cellular oxidative damage among groups. Results: RKT administration did not extend the lifespan of wild-type or NPY knockout mice. In the oxidative stress models, RKT treatment upregulated anti-oxidative gene expression in the liver. Furthermore, RKT administration reduced the oxidative damage in the liver compared to the CR conditions alone. However, on induction of oxidative stress by 3-nitropropionic acid or doxorubicin, RKT administration did not affect the survival rate. Conclusions: These results show that RKT administration only partially mimics the effects of CR at the cellular level, but not at the organismal level to increase the lifespan of mice. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2019; ••: ••–••.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-247
Number of pages10
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1


  • calorie restriction
  • ghrelin
  • longevity
  • metabolism
  • oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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