Chinese Herbal Formula May Be Helpful for Peanut Allergies
C. Qu, K. Srivastava, X.-M. Li, et al. "Induction
of tolerance after establishment of peanut allergy by the food allergy herbal
formula-2 is associated with up-regulation of interferon-γ."
A study in mice shows that a Chinese herbal formula may help prevent dangerous
reactions to peanuts. Peanut allergies affect as many as 6 percent of young
children and are a major cause of anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction with
respiratory symptoms that can be fatal.
Xiu-Min Li and colleagues at Mount Sinai School of Medicine conducted
experiments in mice with established peanut allergies to see if a formula of
nine Chinese herbs, called FAHF-2, could reduce sensitivity to peanuts. The
peanut-sensitive mice received 7 weeks of oral treatment with FAHF-2 or water as
a placebo treatment.
The mice were then exposed to peanuts to see if they would have anaphylactic
reactions. They were exposed twice—once one day following the conclusion of
FAHF-2 treatment and again 4 weeks after treatment finished.
The researchers found that FAHF-2 completely protected the mice from a dangerous
reaction on both occasions—showing that protection lasted at least 4 weeks after
the treatment finished. The mice treated with the placebo (water) had
anaphylactic reactions. The researchers note that the protection of FAHF-2 may
result from a shift in the immune balance away from the allergic response.
Clinical and Experimental Allergy, June 2007.
Astragalus Polysaccharides: An Effective Treatment for
Diabetes Prevention in NOD Mice
Chen W, et al. Department of Geriatrics, Huashan
Hospital, Fudan University of Shangai, China.
BACKGROUND: Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic autoimmune disease that
is related to the disequilibrium state of Th1 and Th2 subgroups of helper T
lymphocyte (Th) and their cytokines. Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) are
bioactive components extracted from one of the traditional Chinese herbs, used
to enhance the function of human immune system. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the
effects of APS on preventing type 1 DM and Th1/Th2-subtype cytokines, we
compared the results of administration of APS and normal saline (NS) on
non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: APS or NS was administered
to 4-week-old mice at a dose of 2.0 g/kg per day for 10 weeks. At 40 weeks,
blood glucose, serum C-peptide (C-P) and GAD antibody were measured; pancreas
was examined histologically; the intra-islet lymphocyte infiltration and T
lymphocyte subsets in the spleen were analysed; the gene expression of IL-1
beta, IL-2, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-alpha, INF-gamma, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, TGF-beta,
Bcl-2, SOD, Fas and iNOS were measured by RT-PCR. RESULTS: The results showed
that APS-administered NOD mice had a lower incidence rate of type 1 DM, lower
serum C-P level, better histologic findings of pancreatic islets, and a lower
D4+/CD8+ ratio of T lymphocytes from the spleen and the infiltrated islets.
RT-PCR analysis showed gene expression levels are lower in IL-1 beta, IL-2,
IL-6, IL-12, TNF-alpha, INF-gamma, Fas, iNOS, and higher in IL-4, IL-5, IL-10,
TGF-beta, Bcl-2, SOD in the pancreatic tissue from APS-administered NOD mice as
compared to the NS group. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrated the effects of
Astragalus polysaccharides on the prevention of type 1 DM in NOD mice by
correcting the imbalance between the Th1/Th2 cytokines.
Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2008 Aug;116(8):468-74.
Characterization of Anti-Estrogenic Activity of the Chinese
Herb, Prunella vulgaris, Using In Vitro and In Vivo
Collins NH, Lessey EC, Dusell CD, McDonnell DP,
Fowler L, Palomino WA, Illera MJ, Yu X, Mo B, Houwing A, Lessey BA.
Prunella vulgaris (PV), a commonly used Chinese herb, also known as Self-heal,
has a wide range of reported medicinal activities. By screening multiple herbs
using the endometrial cancer cell line ECC-1 and an alkaline phosphatase
detection assay, we found PV displayed significant anti-estrogenic activity. We
investigated the possible usefulness of anti-estrogenic activity using both in
vitro and in vivo models of endometrial function. Using the well-differentiated
hormone responsive endometrial cell line, ECC-1, PV extract at concentrations
that were not toxic to the cells significantly reduced alkaline phosphatase
activity and cell proliferation in response to estrogen in a dose-dependent
manner. The expression of CYR61, an estrogen induced protein, was blocked in
ECC-1 cells by both the anti-estrogen ICI 182,780 and PV extract. Interestingly,
PV extract did not appear to directly inhibit estrogen signaling. Rather we
found that its activities were probably related to in ability to function as an
aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) agonist in ECC-1 cells. In support of this
hypothesis we noted that PV induced CYP1A1, CYP1B1, and AHR repressor expression
in a dose-dependent manner; responses that were blocked by both siRNA treatment
to reduce AHR and specific AHR antagonists. Ovariectomized immunodeficient
RAG-2/gamma(c) knockout mice implanted with human endometrial xenografts
developed implants only when treated with estrogen. Mice treated with estrogen
and PV tea in their drinking water had fewer and smaller xenograft implants
compared to their estrogen-treated counterparts that drank only water (P <
0.05). Analysis of the resulting implants by immunohistochemistry demonstrated
persistent estrogen receptor (ESR1) but reduced proliferation and CYR61
expression. Mouse uterine tissue weight in PV-treated mice was not different
from controls and cycle fecundity of intact C57 female mice was unaffected by PV
tea treatment. Prunella vulgaris or Self-heal exhibits significant
anti-estrogenic properties both in vitro and in vivo. This activity is likely
due to the ability of PV activated AHR to interfere with ER-signaling. This herb
may be useful as an adjunct for the treatment of estrogen-dependent processes
like endometriosis and breast and uterine cancers. Full characterization of this
herb will likely provide new insights into the crosstalk between AHR and ESR1,
with potential for therapeutic applications for women.
Biol Reprod. 2008 Oct 15.