Aim: To explore the effect of He Jie Tang (decoction for medication) on serum levels of T lymphocyte subsets, NK cell activity and cytokines in chronic hepatitis B patients.
Methods: Eighty-five patients with chronic hepatitis B were divided randomly into two groups. Fifty patients in group I were treated with He Jie Tang (HJT) and 35 patients in group II were treated with combined medication. The levels of T-lymphocyte subsets (CD(3)(+), CD(4)(+), CD(8)(+)), NK cell activity, cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-8, sIL-2R) were observed before and after the treatment. Another 20 normal persons served as group 3.
Results: The level of CD(4)(+) cells and NK cell activity were lower, whereas the level of CD(8)(+) cells in patients was higher than that in normal persons (t = 2.685, 3.172, and 2.754 respectively; P<0.01). The levels of TNF-alpha, IL-8, and sIL-2R in chronic hepatitis B patients were higher than those in normal persons (t = 3.526, 3.170, and 2.876 respectively; P<0.01). After 6 months of treatment, ALT, AST, and TB levels in the two groups were obviously decreased (t = 3.421, 3.106, and 2.857 respectively; P<0.01). The level of CD(4)(+) cells and NK cell activity were increased whereas the level of CD(8)(+) cells decreased (t = 2.179, 2.423, and 2.677 respectively; P<0.05) in group I. The levels of TNF-alpha, IL-8, and sIL-2R in group I were decreased significantly after the treatment (t = 2.611, 2.275, and 2.480 respectively; P<0.05) but had no significant difference in group II after the treatment (t = 1.906, 1.833, and 2.029 respectively; P>0.05). The total effective rate had no significant difference between the two groups (c2 = 2.882, P>0.05) but the markedly effective rate was significantly different between the two groups (c2 = 5.340, P<0.05).
Conclusion: HJT is effective in treating chronic hepatitis B. HJT seems to exert its effect by improving the cellular immune function and decreasing inflammatory cytokines in chronic hepatitis B patients. The function of HJT in protecting liver function in the process of eliminating virus needs to be further studied.