We studied the protective effects of Echinacea purpurea against radiation by evaluating changes in the peripheral blood cell count and peripheral blood antioxidant activity. E. purpurea administration had a suppressive effect on radiation-induced leukopenia, especially on lymphocytes and monocytes, and resulted in a faster recovery of blood cell counts. Mouse peripheral blood antioxidant activity was increased by E. purpurea, and a relationship between the suppressive effect on radiation-induced leukopenia and the antioxidant effect was suggested. Furthermore, we reviewed the evidence of augmentation of found in this study humoral immunity. The effecst of immune activation by E. purpurea were investigated by measuring total immunoglobulin (IgG, IgM). The radioprotective effects of immune activation by E. purpurea were investigated by measuring T lymphocyte subsets in the peripheral blood of mice following whole-body irradiation. E. purpurea activates macrophages to stimulate IFN-γ production in association with the secondary activation of T lymphocytes, resulting in a decrease in IgG and IgM production. Cytokines released from macrophages in mouse peripheral blood after E. purpurea administration activated helper T cells to proliferate. In addition, it is reported that activated macrophages in association with the secondary T lymphocyte activation increases IFN-γ production and stimulates proliferation of cytotoxic T cells and suppressor T cells. We think that CD 4 and CD 8 subsets were more immunologically enhanced by E. purpurea than helper T cells and suppressor T cell these results reflect activation. In addition, we think that these results reflect cell-mediated immune responses.
2004 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan