The pupils are regulated by the autonomic nervous system; therefore, they reflect various conditions involving the autonomic nervous system and provide important information in this regard. The most important function of the pupils is light reflex, i.e., miosis in the presence of light, which can be recorded using a pupillometer. Binocular infrared video pupillography facilitates the noninvasive measurement of the activities of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves distributed in the pupils, thus facilitating an autonomic function test with quantitative diagnosis. Traditionally, the effects of Kampo medicines are evaluated based on subjective symptoms; however, from the viewpoint of scientific investigation, objective evaluation methods are required. In order to clarify the relationship between the effects of Kampo medicines and the autonomic nervous system, we performed studies employing the pupillometer Iriscorder®. We confirmed the regulatory actions of Kampo medicines on the autonomic nervous system through our studies. Using an Iriscorder® proved useful for evaluating the effects of Kampo medicines.
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of hochuekkito on semen parameters, and to clarify the relationships among IL-6, TNF-α, RANTES, and semen parameters in idiopathic male infertility. Twenty patients with idiopathic oligozoospermia and/or asthenozoospermia (<20 x 10 6/ml and/or 50%) were given 7.5 g of herb daily for 3 months. Before and immediately after the final treatment, semen analysis and measurements of seminal plasma cytokines were performed. Seminal plasma levels of IL-6, TNF-α , and RANTES were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Sperm motility was significantly increased after herb administration (p<0.002); however, semen volume, sperm count, and normal morphology did not change. The seminal plasma level of RANTES was decreased after treatment (p<0.024); however, the seminal plasma levels of TNF-α and IL-6 were unchanged. Hochuekkito may influence the concentrations of certain cytokines in seminal plasma.
A national survey in Japan (1998) reported that the prevalence of seasonal allergic rhino-conjunctivitis was 13-16%. Recently, alternative therapy for allergic rhinitis using natural products has drawn increasing attention. A randomized trial was conducted to confirm the safety and efficacy of oolong tea "ogonkei" for seasonal allergic rhino-conjunctivitis. Adult patients with various symptoms of seasonal allergic rhino-conjunctivitis caused by pollen were tested continuously for six weeks to evaluate the effect of drinking the oolong tea beverage "ogonkei." In this clinical study, the safety of this beverage was confirmed. Even during the period when pollen counts are high, this oolong tea was confirmed effective for relief of allergy symptoms, such as sneezing (P<0.05), nasal discharge (P<0.001), nasal obstruction (P<0.01), or tears (P<0.001). The amount of anti-allergic agent used could also be decreased. Based on the foregoing, it is suggested that drinking oolong tea "ogonkei" daily may be effective, a) allows less use of an anti-allergic agent and b) has an additive effect to attenuate allergy symptoms with anti-allergic agent during the period when so much cedar pollen is airborne.
A high performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-APCI-MS/MS) was applied to determine the contents of ergosterol and ergosterol peroxide (EPO) in seventeen fruiting bodies and five mycelia of medicinal fungi, which are used as important traditional or folk medicines for prevention and treatment of cancer. A comprehensive validation of the method, including sensitivity, linearity, reproducibility and recovery was conducted using the optimized chromatographic conditions; an HPLC-DAD method was used for determination of ergosterol and an HPLC-APCI-Ion Trap MS method was adopted for determination of EPO. The calibration lines of ergosterol and EPO were obtained with R2>0.999 (both standard compounds), and the limits of detection (S/N=3) were estimated to be 16.4 and 1.8 ng, respectively. The relative standard deviations of the respective methods were less than 4.81 and 6.30% (n=5) for intraday and interday assays, and the recoveries were 94.6-98.4% and 93.0-99.6% for ergosterol and EPO, respectively. Of the medicinal fungi examined, the content of ergosterol was found to be the highest in the fruiting body of Grifola frondosa (0.283%, w/w), while that of EPO was the highest in the fruiting body of Ganoderma colossum (0.053%, w/w). The described analytical methods are rapid, accurate and applicable to the quantitative determination of ergosterol and EPO in other fungi and their commercial products.
Cistanche salsa (C.A. Meyer) G. Beck, Orobanchaceae is a parasitic plant that is used as an oriental medicinal tonic in Japan. In our preceding study, C. salsa extract dialysate (CSD) was shown to enhance IgM production in the human B cell line BALL-1 with the added effect of slightly inducing cell proliferation. In this study, we show that the CSD has the opposite effect on the human Burkitt's lymphoma cell line Namalwa. The CSD, which is prepared by removing the low-molecular-weight constituents from the extract using a 3,500 Da molecular-weight-cut-off dialysis membrane, inhibited cell growth in Namalwa. This growth inhibition was assessed by observing nuclear DNA fragmentation and measuring the percentage of sub-G1 cells. The cells treated with the CSD showed the characteristic features for apoptosis. The nuclear DNA was shown to fragment into the characteristic "ladder" and the percentage of sub-G1 cells was higher. These results suggest that the effect of the CSD on Namalwa is related to the activation of B cell and that apoptosis may be due to the lack of other signals, such as cytokines and cell-cell contact which is required for B cell differentiation.