Procoagulant and prothrombotic effects of the herbal medicine, Dipsacus asper and its active ingredient, dipsacus saponin C, on human platelets

J. S. Song, K. M. Lim, S. Kang, J. Y. Noh, K. Kim, O. N. Bae, J. H. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background:  In spite of the growing popularity of herbal medicines and natural food supplements, their effects on cardiovascular homeostasis remain largely unknown, especially regarding pro-thrombotic risks. Objective:  In the present study, 21 herbal tea extracts were screened for the procoagulant activities on platelets, an important promoter of thrombosis to examine if herbal medicines or natural products may have prothrombotic risks. We discovered that Dipsacus asper (DA), known to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, potently induced procoagulant activities in platelets. We tried to identify the active ingredient and elucidate the underlying mechanism. Results:  Among 10 major ingredients of DA, dipsacus saponin C (DSC) was identified as a key active ingredient in DA-induced procoagulant activities. DSC-induced procoagulant activities were achieved by the exposure of phosphatidylserine (PS) and PS-bearing microparticle generation that were caused by the alteration in the activities of phospholipid translocases: scramblase and flippase. These events were initiated by increased intracellular calcium and ATP depletion. Notably, DSC induced a series of apoptotic events including the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential, translocation of Bax and Bak, cytochrome c release and caspase-3 activation. The key roles of apoptotic pathway and caspase activation were demonstrated by the reversal of DSC-induced PS exposure and procoagulant activities with the pretreatment of caspase inhibitors. Interestingly, EGTA reversed DSC-induced procoagulant activities and apoptotic events suggesting that an intracellular calcium increase may play a central role. These results were also confirmed in vivo where platelets of the rats exposed to DSC or DA exhibited PS exposure. Most importantly, DSC or DA administration led to increased thrombus formation. Conclusion:  These results demonstrate that herbal medicines or natural products such as DA or DSC might have prothrombotic risks through procoagulant activation of platelets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-906
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Apoptosis
  • Dipsacus saponin C
  • Herbal medicine
  • Phosphatidylserine exposure
  • Platelets
  • Procoagulant activity
  • Thrombosis


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