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Points - Recent Research
Effect of Acupuncture on Allergen-Induced Basophil Activation in Patients with Atopic Eczema
  Crocetin: An Agent Derived from Saffron (Hong Hua) for Prevention and Therapy for Cancer
  The Inhibitory Activities of the Components of Huang Lian Jie Du Tang on Eicosanoid Generation Via Lipoxygenase Pathway

Effect of Acupuncture on Allergen-Induced Basophil Activation in Patients with Atopic Eczema

Pfab F, et al. Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Technische Universität München , Munich, Germany.

The crucial symptom of atopic eczema is itch. Acupuncture has been shown to exhibit a significant effect on experimental itch; however, studies focusing on clinical itch in atopic eczema and corresponding mechanisms are lacking. The study design was a unicenter, single-blinded (observer), prospective, randomized clinical pilot trial with an additional experimental part. In 10 patients with atopic eczema, we investigated the effect of acupuncture treatment (n = 5) compared to no treatment (n = 5) on itch intensity and in vitro basophil CD63 expression upon allergen stimulation (house dust mite and timothy grass pollen) in a pilot trial. Results: Mean itch intensity in a visual analog scale was rated significantly lower in the acupuncture group (-25% ± 26% [day 15-day 0]; -24% ± 31% [day 33-day 0]) than in the control group (15% ± 6% [day 15-day 0]; 29% ± 9% [day 33-day 0]). From day 0 (before treatment) to day 15 (after 5 acupuncture treatments) as well as day 33 (after 10 acupuncture treatments), the acupuncture group showed less CD63 positive basophils than the control group regarding stimulation with house dust mite and grass pollen allergen at various concentrations (5 ng/mL, 1 ng/mL, 0.5 ng/mL, or 0.25 ng/mL). Conclusions: Our results show a reduction of itch intensity and of in vitro allergen-induced basophil activation in patients with atopic eczema after acupuncture treatment. Reducing basophil activation can be a further tool in investigating the mechanisms of action of acupuncture in immunoglobulin E-mediated allergy. Due to the limited number of patients included in our pilot trial, further studies are needed to strengthen the hypothesis.

J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Apr;17(4):309-14. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

Source: PubMed

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Crocetin: An Agent Derived from Saffron (Hong Hua) for Prevention and Therapy for Cancer

Gutheil WG, et al. Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 4801 Linwood Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64128, USA. adhar@kumc.edu.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and accounts for approximately 8 million deaths per year worldwide. Although there is an increasing number of therapeutic options available for patients with cancer, their efficacy is time-limited and non-curative. Approximately 50-60% of cancer patients in the United States utilize agents derived from different parts of plants or nutrients (complementary and alternative medicine), exclusively or concurrently with traditional therapeutic regime such as chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The need for new drugs has prompted studies evaluating possible anti-cancer agents in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Saffron, a spice and a food colorant present in the dry stigmas of the plant Crocus sativus L., has been used as an herbal remedy for various ailments including cancer by the ancient Arabian, Indian and Chinese cultures. Crocetin, an important carotenoid constituent of saffron, has shown significant potential as an anti-tumor agent in animal models and cell culture systems. Crocetin affects the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting nucleic acid synthesis, enhancing anti-oxidative system, inducing apoptosis and hindering growth factor signaling pathways.

Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2011 Apr 5.

Source: PubMed

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The Inhibitory Activities of the Components of Huang Lian Jie Du Tang on Eicosanoid Generation Via Lipoxygenase Pathway

Zeng H, et al. Department of Natural Product Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, PR China.

Huang Lian Jie Du Tang (HLJDT) is a traditional Chinese medicine with anti-inflammatory use. In the present study, the effects of its component herbs and pure components were observed on eicosanoid generation to find out the contributory components and their precise targets on arachidonic acid (AA) cascade. MATERIALS AND METHODS: By monitoring leukotriene B(4) (LTB(4)), 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE), and 12-hydroxy-5,8,10-heptadecatrienoic acid (12-HHT), we compared the effects of HLJDT, HLJDT free of one or two component herbs, and water extract of four single component herbs of HLJDT (Rhizoma coptidis, Radix scutellariae, Cortex phellodendri and Fructus gardeniae) on eicosanoid generation in rat elicited peritoneal macrophages. In addition, thirteen pure compounds from HLJDT (baicalin, baicalein, wogonoside, wogonin, berberine, magnoflorine, phellodendrine, coptisine, palmatine, jateorrhizine, crocin, chlorogenic acid, and geniposide) were tested in the macrophages. Furthermore, the efficacies of these thirteen compounds were evaluated on cell-free purified enzymes: leukotriene A(4) hydrolase (LTA(4)H), 5-, 15-lipoxygenase (5-, 15-LO), and cyclo-oxygenase-1/2 (COX-1/2). Moreover, the possible synergetic effect on LO pathway derived LTB(4) generation between the active components was also tested in rat peritoneal macrophages. RESULTS: Our experiments showed that Rhizoma coptidis and Radix scutellariae were responsible for the suppressive effect of HLJDT on eicosanoid generation. Some of the pure components including baicalein, baicalin, wogonoside, wogonin, coptisine, and magnoflorine inhibited eicosanoid generation in rat macrophages via LO pathway of AA cascade. Further experiments on cell-free purified enzymes confirmed that Radix scutellariae derived baicalein and baicalin showed significant inhibition on 5-LO and 15-LO, while Rhizoma coptidis derived coptisine showed medium inhibition on LTA(4)H. On the other hand, no significant inhibition of thirteen components on COX-1/2 was observed. Moreover, the slight synergetic inhibition on LTB(4) between baicalein and coptisine was proved in the rat peritoneal macrophages. CONCLUSIONS: Baicalein and coptisine, the active components of HLJDT, for the first time are found to interfere with arachidonic acid cascade via inhibition on different points of LO pathway. This finding makes the mechanism of HLJDT clearer and achieves its safer therapeutic application.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Apr 2.

Source: PubMed

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