Objective: To study the clinical efficacy of astragalus's preventing the recurrence and regulatory effects on Th1/Th2 cytokines in asthmatic children during the remission stage.
Methods: Ninety asthmatic children during the remission stage were assigned to the astragalus treatment group (Group A), the hormone treatment group (Group B), and the combined group of astragalus and hormone treatment (Group C), 30 in each. Thirty healthy children were set up as the control group. The changes of peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) before and after treatment and the recurrence times during the one-year follow-up were observed. Peripheral serum contents of immunoreactive fibronectin-gamma (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) were detected before and after treatment using ELISA.
Results: The total effective rate was higher in Group B (73.3%) than in Group A (66.7%), but with no statistical difference between the two groups (P>0.05). It was highest in Group C (96.7%), showing significant difference from the other two groups (P<0.05). The levels of PEFR and IFN-gamma significantly increased and IL-4 obviously decreased in the three groups after treatment (P<0.05). No statistical difference of PEFR, IFN-gamma, or IL-4 existed in the three groups before treatment (P>0.05). Statistical difference of PEFR, IFN-gamma, or IL-4 existed between Group C and Group B after treatment (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Astragalus played a role in preventing the recurrence of asthma. The combination of astragalus and hormones showed better effects.