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In Vivo. 2006 Jul-Aug;20(4):505-9.

Aloe-emodin affects the levels of cytokines and functions of leukocytes from Sprague-Dawley rats.

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Center of General Education, China Medical University, Taichung City, Taiwan.


Aloe-emodin has shown anti-neoplastic activity against some human cancer cell lines. This study aimed to explore the effects of aloe-emodin on the phagocytosis of macrophages, the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and the expression of cytokines in leukocytes from Sprague-Dawley rats. Leukocytes were collected, placed into culture plates and the functions of macrophages and NK cells and the percentage of viable cells were determined by flow cytometric analysis. Incubation of leukocytes with various concentrations of aloe-emodin caused a dose-dependent decrease of viable cells, a decrease of phagocytosis by macrophages, and a decrease of the activity of NK cells. Evaluation of cytokines in leukocytes by ELISA indicated that aloe-emodin increased the levels of interleukin (IL)-1beta and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. The results were also confirmed by PCR assay for the mRNA expression of the examined cytokines.

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