Objective: To investigate the effect of Astragalus in regulating the imbalance between naive helper T cells (Th1/Th2) cytokines expression in patients with cervical cancer.
Methods: Thirty patients with cervical cancer received intravenous dripping with 20 mL of Astragalus Injection (AI, contained extract from 40 g of crude drug) per day for 1 week, peripheral blood sample was collected from patients separately before and after treatment for extract mononuclear cells by density gradient centrifugation. The positive percentages of CD4+ interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma ) cell and CD4+ interleukin-4 (IL-4) cell in total CD4+ cells were measured by flow cytometry; the contents of IFN-gamma, IL-4 in culture supernate were detected with ELISA; and the expressions of T-cell transcription factor T-cells (T-bet) and GATA-binding protein-3 (GATA-3) were determined by RT-PCR. The data were controlled by those get from 10 healthy persons.
Results: CD4+ IFN-gamma positive cell percentage, T-bet mRNA expression level and concentration of IFN-gamma in supernate were significantly lower in patients than those in healthy control respectively, while CD4+ IL-4 positive percentage, level of GATA3 mRNA expression and IL-4 concentration in supernate were insignificantly different between the two groups. After AI treatment, the lowered parameters were up-regulated (P < 0.05), and no obvious change was observed in the CD4+ IL-4 positive cell associated parameters.
Conclusion: Th1/Th2 cell function imbalance existed in patients with cervical cancer, showing a Th2 predominant reaction mode; AI can regulate the imbalance, offset to Th1, thus to display its anti-tumor effect.