Planta Med 2012; 78 - PD82
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1320440

Echinacea Purpurea L. modulates human t-cell cytokine response

FN Fonseca 1, G Papanicolaou 2, H Lin 3, CBS Lau 4, E Kennelly 5, BR Cassileth 1, S Cunningham-Rundles 3
  • 1Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), N Y, NY 10065
  • 2Infectious Disease Service, MSKCC
  • 3Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College, N Y, NY 10065
  • 4Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
  • 5Department of Biological Sciences, Lehman College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10468

The study evaluates the chemical composition of an Echinacea purpurea (EchNWA) extract previously shown to modifiy the course of influenza infection in a mouse model and assessed immunomodulatory effects on human T-cells. EchNWA extract was obtained from fresh aerial parts extracted with water, followed by ethanolic precipitation, and size-exclusion chromatography. The chemical profile was characterized by chromatographic techniques, including size-exclusion, HPLC, GC-MS and HPLC-PDA. Jurkat T-cells were pretreated with doses of EchNWA followed by activation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate plus ionomycin (PMA+I). Interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma (IFNγ) cytokine secretion as well as CD25 expression were measured. EchNWA contains 80% poly-saccharides and phenolic compounds, but alklyamides were not detected. The extract, but not phenolic compounds, mediated dose-dependent enhancment of high-density T-cell production of IL-2 and IFNγ response to PMA+I. EchNWA also enhanced mean fluorescence intensity of IL-2 in Jurkat T-cells activated by PMA+I or ionomycin alone. The extract alone did not stimulate T-cells. Conversely the extract supressed low-density T-cell production of IFNγ and percentage of CD25+ T-cells. Conclusions are that E. purpurea polysaccharides have dose-related adjuvant effects on human T- cell cytokine responses that are characterized by enhancing and suppressive effects and regulated by T- cell density.