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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 794970, 13 pages
Research Article

In Vivo Anti-Influenza Virus Activity of Japanese Herbal (Kampo) Medicine, “Shahakusan,” and Its Possible Mode of Action

1Graduate School of Infection Control Sciences, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8641, Japan
2Department of Drug Discovery Sciences, Kitasato Institute for Life Sciences, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirakane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8641, Japan
3Department of Basic Research, Oriental Medicine Research Center, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8642, Japan

Received 26 June 2012; Revised 20 November 2012; Accepted 30 November 2012

Academic Editor: Taixiang Wu

Copyright © 2012 Rei Hokari 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.


Background. A Kampo medicine, Shahakusan (SHS), has been prescribed in late phase of infection that causes inflammations in the lung. But effect of SHS on viral infection in respiratory tract has never been reported. Objectives. To evaluate anti-influenza virus activity of SHS and its mode of actions through immune systems. Methods. SHS (0.3 g/kg/day) was orally administered to BALB/c miceforupper (URI) or lower respiratory tract infection (LRI) of influenza virus A/PR/8/34. The virus titer of nasal lavage fluid (NLF) at 5 or 2 day postinfection (p.i.) and cytokine mRNA expressions in mandibular lymph node or lung at 5 or 4 day p.i. were evaluated for URI or LRI, respectively. The histopathological examinations of lung tissue and NK cell activity in the splenocytes were also evaluated at 4 day p.i. on LRI. Results. When SHS was administered from 7 days before to 4 days p.i. for URI, the virus titer was significantly decreased in comparison with water-treated control, and IL-4, IL-1β, and IL-10 mRNA expression was decreased, but IL-12A mRNA expression was increased. Administration of SHS from one day before to one day p.i. for LRI significantly decreased the virus titer. SHS also decreased infiltration of inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar spaces and damage of desquamated mucosal epithelia of bronchiole, decreased IP-10 mRNA expression, and increased NK cell activity. Conclusion. SHS has no direct effect on influenza virus infection but exerts antiviral effect in mice by its immunomodulating activity through action of NK cells and anti-inflammatory activity in the lung.