Table of Contents
ISRN Inflammation
Volume 2012, Article ID 954032, 13 pages
Research Article

Immunomodulatory Effects of Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) in BALB/c Mice

Biggs Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12208, USA

Received 18 June 2012; Accepted 23 August 2012

Academic Editors: A. Jalili, A. Kamal, E. Kurutas, and A. M. Smith

Copyright © 2012 Donghong 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.


Danshen, the root and rhizome of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge, a Traditional Chinese Medicine, especially for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, has unique immunomodulatory effects. Danshen is capable of anti-inflammation and antiallergy, which are immunosuppressive activities, whereas it is also able to promote immunity against cancer, viruses, and bacteria. Most previous reports were performed with use of a purified compound or compounds of Danshen. Since there are more than twenty active compounds in Danshen, it is very difficult to predict that one compound will act the same way when it is combined with other compounds. In order to overcome this limitation, we used the crude form of Danshen to study its immunomodulatory effects in a mouse model. The mice were fed daily diet supplements of Danshen for three months and then tested for their immunity, including leukocyte subsets in peripheral blood, humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, and host defenses against a Listeria monocytogenes (LM) infection. Different doses of Danshen caused different immunomodulatory effects. Danshen at 0.5% decreased serum IgE production in BALB/c mice; 1% Danshen promoted cell-mediated immunity; Danshen at 0.5 and 1% inhibited the production of oxygen free radicals in liver and spleen and NO production in liver; 2% Danshen enhanced the host resistance against LM with increased numbers of peripheral monocytes and natural killer (NK) cells and decreased production of IL-1β and NO.