Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 262–267 | Cite as

Effects of Astragalus membranaceus in promoting T-helper cell type 1 polarization and interferon-γ production by up-regulating T-bet expression in patients with asthma

  • Wang Gang  (王刚)
  • Liu Chun-tao  (刘春涛)Email author
  • Wang Zeng-li  (王曾礼)
  • Yan Cun-liang  (颜存粮)
  • Luo Feng-ming  (罗凤鸣)
  • Wang Lei  (王蕾)
  • Li Ting-qian  (李廷谦)



To explore the effect of Astragalus membranaceus (AM) on T-helper cell type 1 (Th1) specific transcription factor T-box expressed in T cells (T-bet) expression and Th1/Th2 equilibrium.


The levels of T-bet mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 15 patients with asthma and 15 healthy subjects were determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). PBMCs in asthma patients were incubated with AM and then the concentration of interferon γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) in the supernate before and after AM intervention were determined by ELISA. The numbers of CD4+CCR3+ and CD4+CCR5+ cells were counted by flow cytometry.


The expression of T-bet mRNA and the level of IFN-γ were lower, but level of serum IL-4 was higher in asthma patients when compared with those in healthy subjects respectively. After AM (60 μ g/ml) intervention, the former two parameters raised and showed a positive correlation between them, while the level of IL-4 was decreased. The mean percentage of CD4+CCR3+ cells in asthma patients was significantly higher but that of CD4+CCR5+ cells was lower when compared with those in healthy subjects respectively. After AM intervention, the abnormal change in the two indexes was improved to certain extent, showing a reversing status of Th2 polarization.


AM could increase the expression of T-bet mRNA and Th1 cytokines such as IFN-γ, and might reverse the Th2 predominant status in asthma patients.

Key Word

asthma Astragalus membranaceus transcription factor T-box expressed in T cells T helper cells Tinterferon-γ 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of Traditional and Western Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wang Gang  (王刚)
    • 1
  • Liu Chun-tao  (刘春涛)
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wang Zeng-li  (王曾礼)
    • 2
  • Yan Cun-liang  (颜存粮)
    • 3
  • Luo Feng-ming  (罗凤鸣)
    • 2
  • Wang Lei  (王蕾)
    • 1
  • Li Ting-qian  (李廷谦)
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Department of Respiratory Disease, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChina
  3. 3.Department of Laboratory MedicineShenzhen Hospital Affiliated to Peking UniversityChina

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