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Int Immunopharmacol. 2010 Nov;10(11):1374-9. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2010.07.014. Epub 2010 Aug 20.

Anti-asthmatic effect of schizandrin on OVA-induced airway inflammation in a murine asthma model.

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Herbal Medicine EBM Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.


Asthma comprises a triad of reversible airway obstruction, bronchial smooth muscle cell hyperreactivity to bronchoconstrictors, and chronic bronchial inflammation. Clinical and experimental findings have established eosinophilia as a sign of allergic disorders. In the present investigation, we evaluated the anti-asthmatic effects of schizandrin and its underlying mechanisms in an in vivo murine asthmatic model. To accomplish this, female BALB/c mice were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA), and examined for the following typical asthmatic reactions: increased numbers of eosinophils and other inflammatory cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF); production of Th1 cytokines (such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in BALF); production of Th2 cytokines (such as interleukin IL-4 and IL-5) in BALF; presence of total and OVA-specific immunoglobulins (Ig)E in serum; presence of oxidative stress; hyperplasia of goblet cells in the lung; and marked influx of inflammatory cells into the lung. Our results collectively show that schizandrin exerts profound inhibitory effects on accumulation of eosinophils into the airways and reduces the levels of IL-4, IL-5, IFN-γ, and TNF-α in BALF. Additionally, schizandrin suppresses the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a dose-dependent manner, and inhibits goblet cell hyperplasia and inflammatory cell infiltration in lung tissue. Thus, schizandrin has anti-asthmatic effects, which seem to be partially mediated by reduction of oxidative stress and airway inflammation, in a murine allergic asthma model. These results indicate that schizandrin may be an effective novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of allergic asthma.

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