Effects of Asiasari radix on the morphology and viability of mesenchymal stem cells derived from the gingiva.
Medicinal herbs used in traditional Oriental medicine, which have been in use clinically for thousands of years, are attractive sources of novel therapeutics or preventatives. Asiasari radix (A. radix) has been suggested for use in the treatment of dental diseases, including toothache and aphthous stomatitis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of A. radix extracts on the morphology and viability of human stem cells derived from the gingiva. An Asiasarum heterotropoides extract was centrifuged and freeze-dried in a lyophilizer. Stem cells derived from the gingiva were grown in the presence of A. radix at concentrations ranging between 0.1 µg/ml and 1 mg/ml (0, 0.1, 1, 10, 100 and 1,000 µg/ml). Cell morphology was evaluated with an optical microscope and the viability of the cells was quantitatively analyzed with a cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay for up to seven days. The untreated control group exhibited normal fibroblast morphology. The shapes of the cells following 0.1, 1, 10 and 100 µg/ml A. radix treatments were similar to those of the control group. However, a significant change was noted in the 1,000 µg/ml group on day 1, when compared with the untreated group. Furthermore, on day 7, the shapes of the cells following 100 and 1,000 µg/ml A. radix treatments were rounder and fewer cells were present, when compared with those of the control group. The cultures that grew in the presence of A. radix did not exhibit any changes in the CCK?8 assay on day 2; however, significant reductions in cell viability were noticed following 100 and 1,000 µg/ml A. radix treatment on days 5 and 7. Within the limits of this study, A. radix influenced the viability of the stem cells derived from the gingiva. Thus, the direct application of A. radix to oral tissues may produce adverse effects at high doses. Therefore, the concentration and application time of A. radix requires meticulous control to obtain optimal results. These effects require consideration, if the use of A. radix is planned for the treatment of dental diseases.