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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 617302, 7 pages
Research Article

Water Extract of Deer Bones Activates Macrophages and Alleviates Neutropenia

Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea

Received 4 April 2013; Accepted 11 May 2013

Academic Editor: Bo-Hyoung Jang

Copyright © 2013 Han-Seok Choi 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.


Extracts from deer bones, called nok-gol in Korean, have long been used to invigorate Qi. While neutropenia is not well detected in normal physiological condition, it could be a cause of severe problems to develop diseases such as infectious and cancerous diseases. Thus, a prevention of neutropenia in normal physiology and pathophysiological states is important for maintaining Qi and preventing disease progress. In cell biological aspects, activated macrophages are known to prevent neutropenia. In this study, we demonstrate that water extract of deer bone (herein, NG) prevents neutropenia by activating macrophages. In mouse neutropenia model system in vivo where ICR mice were treated with cyclophosphamide to immunosuppress, an oral administration of NG altered the number of blood cells including lymphocytes, neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils. This in vivo effect of NG was relevant to that of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) that was known to improve neutropenia. Our in vitro studies further showed that NG treatment increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and promoted macrophagic differentiation of mouse monocytic Raw264.7 cells in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, NG enhanced nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and secretions of cytokines including IL-6 and TNF-α. Consistently, NG treatment induced phosphorylation of ERK, JNK, IKK, IκBα, and NF-κB in Raw264.7 cells. Thus, our data suggest that NG is helpful for alleviating neutropenia.