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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2 (2005), Issue 2, Pages 191-199
Original Article

Kampo Medicines for Mite Antigen-Induced Allergic Dermatitis in NC/Nga Mice

Department of Pharmacology, Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Gifu, Japan

Received 13 June 2004; Accepted 23 February 2005

Copyright © 2005 Xiu Kun Gao 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.


We have established an allergic dermatitis model in NC/Nga mice by repeated local exposure of mite antigen for analyzing atopic dermatitis. We examined how four Kampo medicines, Juzen-taiho-to, Hochu-ekki-to, Shofu-san and Oren-gedoku-to, on the dermatitis model to obtain basic information on their usefulness for treating atopic dermatitis. Mite antigen (Dermatophagoides farinae crude extract) solution at a concentration of 10 mg/ml was painted on the ear of NC/Nga mice after tape stripping. The procedure was repeated five times, at 7 day intervals. An apparent biphasic ear swelling was caused after the fourth and fifth antigen exposures with elevated serum IgE levels and accumulation of inflammatory cells. In the cervical lymph nodes and ear lobes, the five procedures of antigen exposure induced interleukin-4 mRNA expression but reduced interferon-γ mRNA expression. Oral administration of all four Kampo medicines inhibited the formation of ear swelling and inflammatory cell accumulation. Juzen-taiho-to and Hochu-ekki-to apparently prevented the elevation of serum IgE level. Furthermore, the four Kampo medicines showed a tendency to prevent not only the increase in interleukin-4 mRNA expression but also the decrease in interferon-γ mRNA expression. The present results indicate that Juzen-taiho-to, Hochu-ekki-to, Shofu-san and Oren-gedoku-to may correct the Th1/Th2 balance skewed to Th2, and this activity helps inhibit dermatitis in NC/Nga mice. The ability of the Kampo medicines to correct the Th1/Th2 balance seems to underlie their effectiveness in treating of atopic dermatitis.