Ethnopharmacological relevance: A mixture (SH003) of Astragalus membranaceus (Fisch.) Bunge, Angelica gigas Nakai, and Trichosanthes Kirilowii (Maxim.) has beneficial effects against several carcinomas. There have been few reports on an immune-enhancing activity of SH003 and its active constituent nodakenin. Aim of the study: This study aimed at identifying the immune-enhancing effect of SH003 and nodakenin. Materials and methods: The immune-enhancing effect was evaluated using RAW264.7 macrophages, mouse primary splenocytes, and a cyclophosphamide (CP)-induced immunosuppression murine model. Results: The results show that SH003 or nodakenin stimulated the production levels of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, IL-12, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-α, and nitric oxide (NO) and the expression levels of iNOS in RAW264.7 macrophages. SH003 or nodakenin also enhanced NF-κB p65 activation in RAW264.7 macrophages. SH003 or nodakenin stimulated the production levels of IFN-γ, IL-12, IL-2, TNF-α, and NO and the expression levels of iNOS in splenocytes. SH003 or nodakenin increased the splenic lymphocyte proliferation and splenic NK cell activity. In addition, SH003 or nodakenin increased the levels of IFN-γ, IL-12, IL-2, IL-6, and TNF-α in the serum and spleen of CP-treated mice, alleviating CP-induced immunosuppression. Conclusion: Taken together, the results of this study show that SH003 improved immunosuppression through the activation of macrophages, splenocytes, and NK cells. These findings suggest that SH003 could be applied as a potential immunostimulatory agent for a variety of diseases caused or exacerbated by immunodeficiency.
- RAW264.7 macrophages