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Kansenshogaku Zasshi. 1996 Jul;70(7):717-26.

[The effect of herbal medicines on the immunodeficient animals by injecting cancer chemotherapeutic agent-special reference to age related recovery of the function].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Serology, Kanazawa Medical University, Uchinada, Japan.


The acquired immunodeficiency of the host plays an essential role in the occurrence of infections even with low pathogenic bacteria. The increase of cases with MRSA and/or pseudomonas infection is one of the serious problems in hospital management in Japan for the elderly as well as pediatric patients. In the present study, mitomycin C (MMC)-treated hosts were prepared in young, adult and old mice to test the immunopotentiating action of the promising Chinese herbal medicine, Tohki-Rikuoh-Toh (TRT), Hotyu-Ekki-Toh (HET) and Juzen-Taiho-Toh (JTT). The effect of these herbal medicines on organ structure and its function in the MMC-treated hosts is clarified and discussed for medical use. 4-5, 8-10 and over 50 week old male C57BL/6 (Clea Japan Inc.) were injected with MMC at a dosage of 3 to 5 mg/kg to inhibit the bone marrow, thus creating a mouse model with reduced immunopotential. A powder extract of TRT, HET and JTT was administrated orally at a dosage of 500 mg/kg/day for seven consecutive days. The white cell number and the subset analysis were carried out by the FACS method. The bactericidal effect of the host was monitored by NBT reduction test. Peritoneal macrophages were prepared by the adherence technique. The macrophage phagocytic activity was examined by an ACAS system. After the administration of TRT, HET and JTT, the body weights recovered as much as 90%, especially in young animals which had been reduced to 75% of their normal values. After MMC-treatment, with the herbal medicines, HET was good for young mice while JTT was effective for the old ones. As for the effect on B cells, the plaque-forming cells (PFC) of spleen cells were compared among the groups. As a result, PFC in the HET group was 184% and the other two were 80 approximately 95% as compared to 76% in the MMC-treated ones. The number of white blood cells in the MMC-treated mice returned to 80% of their normal value. In addition, the phagocytic activity of macrophages increased to 50% although that of the non-treated group was only 20%. The phagocytic activity also recovered in the JTT and TRT of 131% to 95%, respectively compared to 11% in the MMC-treated control. When TRT, HET and JTT were administered orally to mouse models whose immunopotential had been inhibited, the herbal medicines activated both quantitatively and qualitatively, showing themselves to be effective interstitial medicines. In addition, the data from the animal models showed no side effects, confirming the complete efficacy of the drug. Moreover, there was no direct anti-bactericidal effect from these medicines, suggesting that the immunomodulating action of this medicine is host-mediated. It is interesting that quantitative and qualitative recovery were seen when HET was administered to MMC-treated young hosts while JTT was good for the old. With this investigation, the effective components are still unknown for different generations, and we need to clarify this aspect for better understanding of the efficacy of herbal medicines.

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