The immune effects of an African traditional energy tonic in in vitro and in vivo models

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Most of the African traditional medicines (ATM) are formulated as energy tonics to boost and maintain immune defences. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the immune effects of a traditional energy tonic using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), THP-1 monocytes, and bacteria infected rats. When tested in mitogen and peptidoglycan stimulated PBMCs, this energy tonic showed minimal cytotoxicity, while in acute toxicity studies in rats it did not exhibit any significant toxicity at doses up to 2000 mg/mL/kg. The energy tonic doses between 100 and 10 μg/mL were shown to stimulate secretion of cytokines and increase sIL-2R levels in PHA-treated PBMCs. Similar doses in PG-S. aureus-stimulated PBMCs significantly (p < 0.05) increased IL-1α, IL-2, and GM-CSF while causing a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in sIL-2R levels. NF-κβ transcriptional activity was increased in LPS stimulated THP-1 cells. In Sprague Dawley rats pretreated with the energy tonic and then infected with S. aureus, there were insignificant increases in cytokines and sIL-2R when compared to bacteria infected only and 5% Enrofloxacin treated rats. Posttreatment with energy tonic doses after infection with S. aureus did not enhance inflammatory cytokines significantly but changed the immune response profile and decreased corticosterone levels. This ATM showed promising immunomodulatory effects on isolated immune cells and modulated the immune response of rat models infected with S. aureus.