Effects of echinacea purpurea on immune cells in rats

Seyed davood Hajiseyedi,1,* Sara hajiseyedi,2 Shabnam rezaee maghani,3 Sina hajiseyedi,4 Soheila sanei mousavi,5

1. Tabriz Azad University
2. Gonabad medical university
3. Drug store
4. Azad mashahd university
5. Maede school



Echinacea has become one of the most popular herbal supplements. used to alleviate colds, sore throats, coughs, and other respiratory infections. the most common constituents present in echinacea include alkylamides, caffeic acid derivatives, polysaccharides, and lipoproteins. polysaccharides are typically present at the highest concentration in aqueous or fresh pressed juice extracts while alkylamides are more likely to be major constituents in ethanolic extracts. furthermore, it has recently been shown that bacterial lipoproteins may also be responsible for the observed stimulatory activity of echinacea in macrophages. such lipoproteins can be present in plants without contamination from external bacteria due to the presence of endophytes. several studies have described the effects of e. purpurea on the immune system. in 1997, burger et al. revealed the immunostimulatory effect of unpurified fresh pressed e. purpurea juice on human peripheral blood macrophages in vitro. conducted a study addressing the phagocytic activity of alveolar macrophages. most recently, sasagawa et al. (2006) examined the effects of ethanolic extracts obtained from aerial portions of e. purpurea on stimulated jurkat t cells. they found that low concentrations of the extract suppressed the ability of activated t cell. the public generally considers this herb safe and effective as suggested by the dramatic increase in echinacea use; however, additional studies are needed to further define the immunomodulatory effects of echinacea. in this study, we set out to define the immunomodulatory activity of e. purpurea extract


Eight wistar rats aged 6-12 weeks were bred and maintained in the animal research facilities at the islamic azad university of tabriz, iran. rats were housed under specific pathogen-free conditions and maintained on 12 h dark/light cycles. standard laboratory food and water were provided ad libitum. all protocols for the use of animals were approved by the islamic azad university of tabriz, iran. animals were divided into the two identical groups by chance; group 1: the control group received no herbal remedy and group 2 received herbal remedy (e.purpura extract) at the dose of 2.0 microg/ml dissolved in drinking water daily for 8 days. 1 week later blood samples obtained and biochemical factors including igg, igm, iga, total protein and albumin were measured. igg, igm, iga and total protein were measured by the nephalo method and albumin were measured using colorimetric method. extracts were prepared at pharmacognosy department of islamic azad university of tabriz, iran. from 2-year-old cultivated e. datasets with multiple comparisons were evaluated by one-way analysis of variance (anova) with dunnett test. values of p<0.01 were determined to be significant statistically


Data obtained from the measurement of biochemical factors revealed that e.purpura extract cause an increase in levels of igm and iga but no effects on igg, total protein and albumin


Due to its popularity as an herbal supplement, many researchers have attempted to define the immunomodulatory mechanisms of echinacea. e. purpurea has been shown to have immunostimulatory effects on monocytes, macrophages, natural killer cells, and t cells in vitro. to date, few studies have attempted to elucidate the immunomodulatory effects of e. purpurea on immune system. in 2006, wang et al. revealed that their e. purpurea altered immune-related genes in human dcs. additionally, the potential cellular signalling events were investigated via genomic and proteomic analyses following dc exposure to their butanol extracts. since dcs play an important role in both innate and adaptive immunity, it is essential to investigate the effects of e. purpurea on these cells. in this study, we set out to define the immunomodulatory activity of e. purpurea extract. sullivan et al. (2008) examined similar parameters when testing the effects of e. purpurea polysaccharides on macrophages in vitro. they found that polysaccharides isolated from e. in 2005, matthias et al. revealed that following oral consumption of ethanolic e. purpurea liquid extracts, alkylamides appeared in plasma after 20 minutes and reached a maximum concentration of 336±131 ng/ml in human plasma, which demonstrates that alkylamides are bioavailable. by comparison of the above-mentioned literature, it reveals that e.purpura increase immune system in rats and it may be due to its components


E.purpura, immune cells , rats