Search JIM Advanced Search

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2012, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (7): 807-813.doi: 10.3736/jcim20120712

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Chinese herbal medicine Pingchuan Formula on airway inflammation, interferon-γ and interleukin-4 in mice with asthma

Yi-tao Zhao1,2, Xin-guang Zhang1,3, Li Bai1,3, Li-qing Li1,3, Jian-er Yu1,3()   

  1. 1. Department of Pediatrics, Shanghai Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200071, China
    2. Department of Pediatrics, Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510120, Guangdong Province, China
    3. Pediatric Institute of Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Academy, Shanghai 200071, China
  • Received:2011-11-02 Accepted:2011-12-05 Online:2012-07-20 Published:2018-07-15
  • Contact: Jian-er Yu

Objective: To observe the changes of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4), factors related to T helper 1/T helper 2 (Th1/Th2), in airway inflammation in an asthmatic model of mice and the effects of Pingchuan Formula (PCF), a compound traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
Methods: Eighty BALB/c mice were randomly divided into normal group, model group, dexamethasone group and PCF group, with 20 mice in each group. For inducing asthma, the BALB/c mice were sensitized by intraperitoneal injection of mixed ovalbumin, and then activated by inhaling ovalbumin. After 2 weeks of sensitizing, asthmatic mice were intragastrically administered with the drugs once a day for four weeks. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue were collected respectively after 7-day activation or 2 weeks after activation. The general histological changes were observed by hematoxylin and eosin staining and collagen staining, meanwhile the levels of IFN-γ and IL-4 in BALF were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: After 7 d of activation, compared with the normal group, significant decrease in IFN-γ and increase in IL-4 were detected in the model group; compared with the model group, IL-4 level of the two treated groups was decreased and the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio was increased significantly; no significant difference was found between the two treated groups. Two weeks after activation, compared with the normal group, IFN-γ was decreased, IL-4 was increased, and the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio was decreased in the model group; compared with the model group, IL-4 level in the dexamethasone group was significantly decreased and IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio was significantly elevated, while the level of IL-4 in the PCF group was significantly decreased, the level of IFN-γ was increased simultaneously, and the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio was significantly elevated. There was no significant difference between the two treated groups in IFN-γ and IL-4 levels, nor in the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio. The area of collagen fiber in airway wall epithelium in the model group was smaller than that in the normal group, and those in the treated groups were lower than that in the model group; there was no significant difference between the two treated groups.
Conclusion: PCF has regulating function in correcting the imbalance of Th1/Th2 so as to improve airway inflammation. The therapeutic effects of PCF are basically similar to dexamethasone.

Key words: bronchial asthma, drugs, Chinese herbal, interferon-γ, interleukin-4, Th1 cells, Th2 cells, mice

Figure 1

Pathological changes in lung tissue after 7-day activation observed by HE staining (Light microscopy, ×200) A: Normal group; B: Model group; C: Dexamethasone group; D: Pingchuan Formula group."

Figure 2

Pathological changes in lung tissue 2 weeks after activation observed by HE staining (Light microscopy, ×200) A: Normal group; B: Model group; C: Dexamethasone group; D: Pingchuan Formula group."

Figure 3

Pathological changes in lung tissue after 7-day activation observed by collagen staining (Light microscopy, ×200) A: Normal group; B: Model group; C: Dexamethasone group; D: Pingchuan Formula group."

Figure 4

Pathological changes in lung tissue 2 weeks after activation observed by collagen staining (Light microscopy, ×200) A: Normal group; B: Model group; C: Dexamethasone group; D: Pingchuan Formula group."

Table 1

The analysis of collagen-stained picture in lung tissue of BALB/c mice (x±s)"

Group n Collagen area (mm2) Optical density (J/mm2) Integrated optical density (J)
Activation 7 d 2 weeks after
Activation 7 d 2 weeks after
Activation 7 d 2 weeks after
Normal 10 480.71±214.58 527.56±230.23 0.13±0.03 0.16±0.02 64.24±35.14 84.85±40.46
Model 10 4 784.62±
2 336.15▲▲
8 200.99±
3 741.15
0.17±0.02** 0.18±0.03 824.02±
1 366.02±
DXM 10 1 518.62±
2 280.76±
0.15±0.03 0.15±0.02 216.90±
PCF 10 1 358.84±
2 116.10±
0.13±0.02△△ 0.16±0.02 177.07±

Table 2

Levels of IFN-γ and IL-4 in BALF of BALB/c mice (x±s)"

Group n Interferon-γ (ng/L) Iterleukin-4 (ng/L) Interferon-γ/iterleukin-4
Activation 7 d 2 weeks after
Activation 7 d 2 weeks after
Activation 7 d 2 weeks after
Normal 10 16.57±4.72 18.03±2.46 1.46±0.17 1.50±0.43 11.48±3.65 12.13±3.20
Model 10 10.11±5.56** 14.04±2.14** 2.13±0.55** 3.12±0.78** 4.89±3.20** 4.80±1.59**
DXM 10 12.41±2.06* 14.53±1.74** 1.65±0.56 1.73±1.03△△ 8.50±3.46 9.20±3.86△△
PCF 10 14.35±3.98 16.23±2.60 1.57±0.33△△ 2.07±0.74△△ 9.68±4.02△△ 9.07±4.78
[1] Finotto S, Glimcher L . T cell directives for transcriptional regulation in asthma[J]. Springer Semin Immunopathol, 2004,25(3-4):281-294
doi: 10.1007/s00281-003-0143-1 pmid: 15007632
[2] Liu LG, Hou AC, Fang HQ, Hao YY . Changes of T helper cells in peripheral blood of children with bronchial asthma[J]. Shi Yong Er Ke Lin Chuang Za Zhi, 2006,21(4):217-218
doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1003-515X.2006.04.013
刘力戈, 侯安存, 方惠秋, 郝艳艳 . 支气管哮喘患儿血T辅助淋巴细胞的变化[J]. 实用儿科临床杂志, 2006,21(4):217-218
doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1003-515X.2006.04.013
[3] Szabo SJ, Kim ST, Costa GL, Zhang X, Fathman CG, Glimcher LH . A novel transcription factor, T-bet, directs Th1 lineage commitment[J]. Cell, 2000,100(6):655-669
doi: 10.1016/S0092-8674(00)80702-3 pmid: 10761931
[4] Chakir H, Wang H, Lefebvre DE, Webb J, Scott FW . T-bet/GATA-3 ratio as a measure of the Th1/Th2 cytokine profile in mixed cell populations: predominant role of GATA-3[J]. J Immunol Methods, 2003,278(1-2):157-169
doi: 10.1016/S0022-1759(03)00200-X
[5] Zhu HH, Yu JE, Zhang XF, Chen YP, Pang HF, Wang GH, Guan Y, Wu J . Experimental effects of “Pingchuan Decoction”on bronchial asthma macrophage inflammatory protein-1α and expression of CD86 in mice[J]. Shanghai Zhong Yi Yao Za Zhi, 2008,42(9):58-62
doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1007-1334.2008.09.025
朱慧华, 虞坚尔, 张晓峰, 陈燕萍, 庞惠芳, 王国华, 管宇, 吴杰 . 平喘方对支气管哮喘模型小鼠巨噬细胞炎性蛋白-1α水平及CD86分子表达的实验研究[J]. 上海中医药杂志, 2008,42(9):58-62
doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1007-1334.2008.09.025
[6] Li YK. Experimental methodology of traditional Chinese medicine pharmacology.2nd ed[M]. Shanghai: Shanghai Scientific and Technical Publishers, 2006: 119-120
李仪奎 . 中药药理实验方法学.第2版[M]. 上海: 上海科学技术出版社, 2006: 119-120
[7] Sun JF. Methodology of experimental animals[M]. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House, 2002: 357
孙敬方 . 动物实验方法学[M]. 北京: 人民卫生出版社, 2002: 357
[8] Li YY. Modern research and treatment of phlegm diseases in traditional Chinese medicine[M]. Beijing: Academy Press, 2003: 298-360
李以义 . 中医痰病的现代研究与治疗[M]. 北京: 学苑出版社, 2003: 298-360
[9] Zeng CC, Zhou JL . Theory of the formation and study feature in phlegm syndrome[J]. Zhong Yi Yan Jiu, 2003,16(6):4-6
曾常春, 周俊亮 . 痰证理论的形成及其研究特点[J]. 中医研究, 2003,16(6):4-6
[10] Xu JZ, Wu YG, Li MH. TCM combined with Western medicine in treatment of asthma[M]. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House, 2000: 19
许建中, 吴银根, 李明华 . 中西医结合哮喘病学[M]. 北京: 人民卫生出版社, 2000: 19
[1] Deng-hai Zhang, Kun-lun Wu, Xue Zhang, Sheng-qiong Deng, Bin Peng. In silico screening of Chinese herbal medicines with the potential to directly inhibit 2019 novel coronavirus. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2020, 18(2): 152-158.
[2] Yi Ran Hu, San Li Xing, Chuan Chen, Ding Zhu Shen, Jiu Lin Chen. Tiaoxin Recipe, a Chinese herbal formula, inhibits microRNA-34a expression in the APPswe/PS1ΔE9 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(6): 404-409.
[3] Carola Analía Torres, Cristina Marisel Pérez Zamora, María Beatriz Nuñez, Ana María Gonzalez. In vitro antioxidant, antilipoxygenase and antimicrobial activities of extracts from seven climbing plants belonging to the Bignoniaceae. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(4): 255-262.
[4] Shui-jie Shen, Yong-hong Zhang, Xiao-xia Gu, Shui-ju Jiang, Ling-jun Xu. Yangfei Kongliu Formula, a compound Chinese herbal medicine, combined with cisplatin, inhibits growth of lung cancer cells through transforming growth factor-β1 signaling pathway. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(3): 242-251.
[5] Liliana Zazueta-Beltrán, Lorena Medina-Aymerich, Nadia Estela Díaz-Triste, Aracely Evangelina Chávez-Piña, Gilberto Castañeda-Hernández, Leticia Cruz-Antonio. Evidence against the participation of a pharmacokinetic interaction in the protective effect of single-dose curcumin against gastrointestinal damage induced by indomethacin in rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(2): 151-157.
[6] Bhesh Raj Sharma, Dong Wook Kim, Dong Young Rhyu. Korean Chungtaejeon tea extract attenuates weight gain in C57BL/6J-Lep ob/ob mice and regulates adipogenesis and lipolysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(1): 56-63.
[7] Tom Fleischer, Tung-Ti Chang, Hung-Rong Yen. Post-hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in patients with hematologic disorders: Chinese herbal medicine for an unmet need. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(5): 322-335.
[8] JiaXia, Li-qunHe, XiaoSu. Interventional mechanisms of herbs or herbal extracts on renal interstitial fibrosis. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2016, 14(3): 165-173.
[9] Mojtaba Heydari, Mohammad Hashem Hashempur, Mohammad Hosein Ayati, Detlev Quintern, Majid Nimrouzi, Seyed Hamdollah Mosavat. The use of Chinese herbal drugs in Islamic medicine. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(6): 363-367.
[10] Wei Chiang Chan Eric, Kuin Wong Siu. Phytochemistry and pharmacology of ornamental gingers, Hedychium coronarium and Alpinia purpurata: A review. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(6): 368-379.
[11] Xiao-ping Huang, Huang Ding, Jin-dong Lu, Ying-hong Tang, Bing-xiang Deng, Chang-qing Deng . Autophagy in cerebral ischemia and the effects of traditional Chinese medicine. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(5): 289-296.
[12] Shi-li Jiang, Xu-dong Hu, Ping Liu. Immunomodulation and liver protection of Yinchenhao decoction against concanavalin A-induced chronic liver injury in mice. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(4): 262-268.
[13] Swapnil P. Borse, Bhagyashree B. Kamble. Effects of Ayurvedic Rasayana botanicals on CYP3A4 isoenzyme system. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2015, 13(3): 165-172.
[14] Elizabeth Abidemi Balogun, Sylvia Orume Malomo, Joseph Oluwatope Adebayo, Ahmed Adebayo Ishola, Ayodele Olufemi Soladoye, Lawrence Aderemi Olatunji, Olatunji Matthew Kolawole, Stephen Olubunmi Oguntoye, Abiola Samuel Babatunde, Oluwole Busayo Akinola . In vivo antimalarial activity and toxicological effects of methanolic extract of Cocos nucifera (Dwarf red variety) husk fibre. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(6): 504-511.
[15] Chang-qing Zhao, Yang Zhou, Jian Ping, Lie-ming Xu. Traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of liver diseases: Progress, challenges and opportunities. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(5): 401-408.
Full text



[1] Jun Cai, Hua Wang, Sheng Zhou, Bin Wu, Hua-rong Song, Zheng-rong Xuan. Effect of Sijunzi Decoction and enteral nutrition on T-cell subsets and nutritional status in patients with gastric cancer after operation: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 37-40
[2] Guo-hong Yuan, Xiao-jing Pang, He-chao Ma. Synergic effects of Danggui Buxue Decoction in reducing toxicity of cytoxan in tumor-bearing mice. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 83-88
[3] Bo Wang , Wei Yan , Li-hui Hou, Xiao-ke Wu. Disorder of Tiangui (kidney essence) and reproductive dysfunction in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1018-1022
[4] Bing Hu , Hong-mei An , Ke-ping Shen , Qin Du. Senescence-inducing effects of Chinese herbal medicine Tenglong Buzhong Decoction on human colon carcinoma LS-174-T cells and the mechanism. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1048-1052
[5] Chan Chen, Yong-mei Meng , Peng Zhang, Juan Wang, Hui-hui Zhao, Shu-zhen Guo , Wei Wang. Diagnosis and treatment rule of traditional Chinese medicine for syndrome factors of chronic congestive heart failure: a study based on Shannon entropy method. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1080-1084
[6] Liang-ping Hu , Xiao-lei Bao, Xue Guan. Statistical inference and experimental design of univariate qualitative data of single-group design. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1085-1089
[7] Zhi-mei Wang, Bin Zhang. A study on translation of ellipses in Huangdi Neijing from perspective of hermeneutic theory. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1097-1100
[8] Hui-min Liu, Xian-bo Wang, Yu-juan Chang, Li-li Gu. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of integrative medicine therapy for treatment of chronic severe hepatitis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1211-1228
[9] Nian-hong Wang , Jun-tao Yan , Wu-quan Sun , Yong-shan Hu , Jun Xia , Li-cheng Wei , Jie Jia , Gui-lin Ouyang , Yong He , Yan-ming Guo , Jie Xu . Effects of early application of Tuina treatment on quadriceps surface myoelectricity in patients after total knee arthroplasty: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1247-1253
[10] Xiang-ying Mao , Qin Bian , Zi-yin Shen. Analysis of the osteogenetic effects exerted on mesenchymal stem cell strain C3H10T1/2 by icariin via MAPK signaling pathway in vitro. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1272-1278