Astragalus polysaccharides enhance immune responses of HBV DNA vaccination via promoting the dendritic cell maturation and suppressing Treg frequency in mice

Int Immunopharmacol. 2012 Dec;14(4):463-70. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2012.09.006. Epub 2012 Sep 21.


Astragalus polysaccharides (APS), an extract from a kind of Chinese traditional herb Astragalus membranaceus, was proved to have strong immunoregulatory properties. In this study, APS was employed as an adjuvant of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA vaccine (pcDS2) and its' effects on immune system of mice were investigated. Our data demonstrated that APS as an adjuvant could increase the HBsAg-specific antibody level as well as the proliferating activity of T cells. APS also could induce CD4(+) T cells to produce IL-4, IL-2 and IFN-γ and enhance IFN-γ expression of CD8(+) T cells. Moreover, APS could induce the robust activity of the cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTL). Additionally, APS could stimulate the dendritic cells (DC) maturation which is characterized by up-regulation of MHC I/II, CD40, CD80 and CD86, and decreased the frequency of the regulatory T cells (nTreg). Collectively, these findings suggest that APS is a potent adjuvant for the hepatitis B DNA vaccine and can enhance the immune responses of HBV DNA vaccine via promoting DC maturation and inhibit the Treg frequency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Astragalus Plant / chemistry*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology*
  • Immunity, Humoral / drug effects
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects*
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Polysaccharides
  • Vaccines, DNA