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Immunol Invest. 2010 Jan;39(3):245-67. doi: 10.3109/08820131003599585.

The effects of Phyllanthus niruri aqueous extract on the activation of murine lymphocytes and bone marrow-derived macrophages.

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Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.

Erratum in

  • Immunol Invest.2010;39(4-5):550.


Phyllanthus niruri L. (Euphorbiaceae) is acclaimed world-wide for its versatile ethnomedicinal uses. It features in recipes used by some herbalists to manage different diseases, including claims of efficacy against many life-threatening infections, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. In order to understand the mechanisms and the involvement of the immune system in mediating these activities, the effects of the aqueous extract of P. niruri on the activation of murine lymphocytes and macrophages were investigated. The study showed that the extract of P. niruri is a potent murine lymphocytes mitogen, inducing significant (p < 0.01) increases in the expression of surface activation maker (CD69) and proliferation of B and T lymphocytes. The production of interferon-gamma (IFN- gamma) and interleukine-4 (IL-4) by P. niruri extract-stimulated naïve splenocytes cultures was also significantly (p < 0.05) increased in a concentration-dependent manner. Various indices of activation and functions murine bone marrow-derived macrophages were significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced by pre-treatment with the extract, including phagocytosis, lysosomal enzymes activity, and TNF-alpha release. Phyllanthus niruri extract was also shown to modulate nitric oxide release by macrophages. These activities suggest that stimulation of the immune system by the extracts of P. niruri could be partly responsible for the ethnomedicinal applications in the management of infectious diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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