Effect of orally administered Hochu-ekki-to, a Japanese herbal medicine, on contact hypersensitivity caused by repeated application of antigen

Tsutomu Nakada, Kenji Watanabe, Tsukasa Matsumoto, Kazuki Santa, Kazuo Triizuka, Toshihiko Hanawa

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The effects of oral administration of Hochu-ekki-to (HET; bu-zhong-yi-qi-tang in Chinese), a traditional Japanese and Chinese herbal medicine, on chronic contact hypersensitivity were investigated. HET suppressed ear swelling due to chronic contact hypersensitivity caused by repeated application of 2,4,6-trinitro-1-chlorobenzene (TNCB). HET significantly suppressed not only increases in hapten-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) and IgG1 titer due to repeated application of TNCB, but also total IgE and IgG1 concentration in the serum. Interleukin 4 (IL-4) level in inflamed ear tissue was significantly increased by repeated application of TNCB, and this increase in IL-4 level in the ear was significantly suppressed by oral administration of HET. Interferon γ (IFN-γ), IL-2, IL-5, IL-10 and IL-12 levels are not changed as much as IL-4 by TNCB and HET did not alter these cytokines as much as IL-4. These results suggest that oral administration of HET suppresses chronic contact hypersensitivity, and it can be assumed that the suppression of serum Ig E and Ig G1 and IL-4 in inflamed ear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-911
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jul 22



  • Contact hypersensitivity
  • Hochu-ekkki-to
  • IL-4
  • IgE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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