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

Abstract

Objective

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Correspondence to Liu Chun-tao.

Additional information

Supported by Science Foundation of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (No. 04-05JQ03), and partly supported by China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2005037800).

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Wang, G., Liu, Ct., Wang, Zl. et al. 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. Chin. J Integ. Med. 12, 262–267 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11655-006-0262-y

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Key Word

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