Evaluation of the adjuvant properties of Astragalus membranaceus and Scutellaria baicalensis GEORGI in the immune protection induced by UV-attenuated Toxoplasma gondii in mouse models

Vaccine. 2010 Jan 8;28(3):737-43. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.10.065. Epub 2009 Nov 1.


Human vaccines are not available and current anti-toxoplasma treatment is disappointing. To investigate the possible adjuvant effect of aqueous extracts obtained from medicinal herbs of Astragalus membranaceus (Am) and Scutellaria baicalensis GEORGI (Sb) on the immune response to Toxoplasma gondii in the mouse models induced by ultraviolet (UV)-attenuated T. gondii, this paper studies the possible vaccination strategies to help combat infections with Toxoplasma and looking towards developing new vaccine and approaches. We used UV-attenuated T. gondii (UV-T.g) of RH strain as a vaccine and the extracts of Am (AmE) and Sb (SbE) as adjuvant. Mice were infected by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of 10(2) RH tachyzoites alone (infected controls), infected and treated with AmE (T.g+AmE) and SbE (T.g+SbE), respectively; and mice immunized i.p. with UV-T.g alone, UV-T.g co-administrated with AmE (UV-T.g+AmE) or SbE (UV-T.g+SbE), and then challenged with T.g, respectively. The animal survival time, parasite burden in peritoneal lavage fluids, liver histopathological analysis, and levels of serum antibodies among the groups were compared after either infection or challenge. The results showed that, compared to infected controls, infected mice treated with AmE or SbE, or vaccinated mice and then challenged, had significantly prolonged survival time, decreased parasite burden, improved liver histopathological score, and increased Th1-type cellular immune response; furthermore, vaccinated mice co-administrated with AmE or SbE had even longer survival, lower parasite burden, lower liver histopathological score, and higher Th1 response after challenge. Our data demonstrated that the protective immunity of UV-attenuated T. gondii could be markedly enhanced by AmE or SbE co-administration, which suggests that both AmE and SbE may have the potential to be used as effective vaccine adjuvant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / isolation & purification
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Ascitic Fluid / parasitology
  • Astragalus propinquus / chemistry*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Mice
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Protozoan Vaccines / immunology*
  • Scutellaria baicalensis / chemistry*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasma / radiation effects
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / prevention & control*
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / immunology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protozoan Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Attenuated