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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 102021, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/102021
Research Article

Huangqin-Tang Ameliorates TNBS-Induced Colitis by Regulating Effector and Regulatory CD4+ T Cells

1Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Second Clinical Medical College, Guangdong Medical College, Dongguan 523808, China
2China-America Cancer Research Institute, Guangdong Medical College, Dongguan 523808, China
3Second Clinical Medical College, Guangdong Medical College, Dongguan 523808, China

Received 12 October 2014; Accepted 11 December 2014

Academic Editor: Wei-Chien Huang

Copyright © 2015 Ying Zou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Huangqin-Tang decoction (HQT) is a classic traditional Chinese herbal formulation that is widely used to ameliorate the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This study was designed to investigate the therapeutic potential and immunological regulatory activity of HQT in experimental colitis in rats. Using an animal model of colitis by intrarectally administering 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS), we found that administration of HQT significantly inhibited the severity of TNBS-induced colitis in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, treatment with HQT produced better results than that with mesalazine, as shown by improvedweight loss bleeding and diarrhoea scores, colon length, and intestinal inflammation. As for potential immunological regulation of HQT action, the percentages of Th1 and Th17 cells were reduced, but those Th2 and Treg cells were enhanced in LPMCs after HQT treatment. Additionally, HQT lowered the levels of Th1/Th17-associated cytokines but increased production of Th2/Treg-associated cytokines in the colon and MLNs. Furthermore, we observed a remarkable suppression of the Th1/Th17-associated transcription factors T-bet and ROR-γt. However, expression levels of the Th2/Treg-associated transcription factors GATA-3 and Foxp3 were enhanced during treatment with HQT. Our results suggest that HQT has the therapeutic potential to ameliorate TNBS-induced colitis symptoms. This protective effect is possibly mediated by its effects on CD4+ T cells subsets.