2003 Volume 26 Issue 12 Pages 1748-1753
This study examined the effects of Bak Foong Pills (BFP) and the new BFP-derived post-menopause formula, Menoease Pills (MBFP), on the distribution of peripheral white blood cells (WBC) between BFP/MBFP-treated and non-treated rats. Eighteen months old female SD rats were used to mimic post-menopausal and old age animal models. The percentage distribution of lymphocytes, monocytes and granulocytes were measured using flow cytometry with and without treatments of BFP or MBFP. Results showed that WBC distribution in old age rats were significantly different from that of adult rats, suggesting that as the animal aged, their WBC distributions were altered. Old age rats were observed to have much lower percentages of lymphocytes, but higher percentages of granulocytes when compared to the adult rats, indicating possible attenuated immunity. Following treatment with BFP or MBFP, WBC populations were found to be redistributed back into the ranges observed in adult animals. Furthermore, MBFP, was found to alter WBC distribution in a dose-dependent manner. When compared to estrogen (E2), a well documented regulator of immune function, results showed that MBFP was able to show significantly greater effects on WBC redistribution compared to E2. However, in ovariectomised (ovx) old age rats, neither MBFP nor E2 treated groups showed any changes in WBC redistribution. These results indicate that MBFP may share similarities to E2. Indeed, the effect of MBFP and E2 seems to require intact ovaries, which are believed to be necessary for the modulation of WBC distributions and immune functions. Overall, our findings suggest that BFP and MBFP may be able to regulate WBC population in old age female rats, and thus, indicate their potential role on improving the attenuated immunity evident in post-menopausal and elderly women.