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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (4): 349-353.doi: 10.3736/jcim20090409

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Chinese herbal formula Biminne in regulating endocrine-immune function in mice with airway allergy

Su-qin Zhanga, Zi-yin Shena,Guo-rang Hub, Run-hong Liua,Xin-ming Zhanga   

  1. a Institute of Chinese Integrative Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China
    b Department of Immunology and Allergy, Concord Hospital, Sydney University, Sydney 2006, Australia
  • Received:2008-10-09 Accepted:2008-12-31 Online:2009-04-20 Published:2009-04-15


To investigate the effects of Biminne, a traditional Chinese herbal formula, in regulating the endocrine-immune function in mice with airway allergy.

Forty BALB/c mice were randomly divided into four groups: control group, untreated group, Biminne group, and dexamethasone (Dex) group. The murine model of airway allergy was established by intraperitoneal injection sensitization and intranasal challenge with ovalbumin (OVA). On day 28, the mice were sacrificed and the sera were collected. The lung tissue of mice was removed for haematoxylin-eosin staining and the pathological changes were observed. The spleen cells of mice were isolated and the ratio of Th2/Th1 was determined by flow cytometry. The isolated spleen cells were also cultured in 24-well plates in the presence of concanavalin A and the supernatants were collected after 72-hour culture. Levels of interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5 and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) in the supernatants and the corticosterone level in sera were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Biminne significantly relieved the inflammatory reaction in the lung tissue of airway allergic mice. Compared with the control group, the Th2 cells in the untreated group increased, while the IFN-γ level decreased and the ratio of Th2/Th1 increased significantly, showing a Th2 response priority. Biminne treatment could down-regulate the Th2 cells and their cytokines IL-4 and IL-5, and up-regulate the Th1 cells and their cytokine IFN-γ. So the ratio of Th2/Th1 decreased significantly, shifting to the control level. In addition, Biminne also inhibited the reduction of the serum corticosterone of sensitized mice.

The Chinese herbal formula Biminne can reverse the functional disorder of the endocrine-immune system, which may explain its therapeutic effects on airway allergic disease.

Key words: Allergy, Interleukin-4, Interleukin-5, Interferon-gamma, Corticosterone, Mice

Table 1

Effects of Biminne on the eosinophil infiltration in the lung tissues of sensitized mice (x±s, cells/HP)"

Group n EOS
Control 10 2.0±2.4
Untreated 10 19.0±6.4**
Dex 10 3.0±1.4△△
Biminne 10 3.1±2.3△△**

Table 2

Effects of Biminne on the Th1 and Th2 cells of sensitized mice (x±s)"

Group n Th2 cells (%) Th1 cells (%) Th2/Th1
Control 10 0.79±0.45 0.95±0.29 1.14±0.20
Untreated 10 1.47±0.56* 0.83±0.41 1.60±0.60*
Dex 10 0.91±0.51 0.68±0.46 1.29±0.45
Biminne 10 1.00±0.43 1.24±0.42 1.13±0.41

Table 3

Effects of Biminne on the IL-4, IL-5 and INF-γ levels in spleen cell culture supernatants (x±s)"

Group n IL-4 (ng/L) IL-5 (ng/L) INF-γ (ng/L) IL-4/IFN-γ
Control 10 47.93±17.40 52.87±24.19 123.50±88.58 0.51±0.37
Untreated 10 50.50±13.49 55.36±44.00 42.80±17.49* 1.07±0.37**
Dex 10 30.90±13.64 30.78±9.82 46.58±34.69 0.87±0.64
Biminne 10 18.25±5.81 33.15±15.34 126.50±91.38 0.24±0.20△△

Table 4

Effects of Biminne on the serum corticosterone level of sensitized mice (x±s, ng/L)"

Group n Corticosterone
Control 10 898.04±645.58
Untreated 10 506.13±459.33*
Dex 10 20.64±8.07△△
Biminne 10 1 144.27±786.15
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