Prunella vulgaris L. attenuates experimental autoimmune thyroiditis. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Prunella vulgaris L. attenuates experimental autoimmune thyroiditis by inducing indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 expression and regulatory T cell expansion.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2020 Aug ;128:110288. Epub 2020 May 29. PMID: 32480225
BACKGROUND: Prunella vulgaris L. (P. vulgaris) has traditionally been used to treat swelling and inflammation of the thyroid gland. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of P. vulgaris on experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT) and explore the roles of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) and regulatory T cells (Tregs) in these P. vulgaris-mediated effects.
METHODS: The main bioactive compounds in P. vulgaris were analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography. An EAT model was established by immunization of Lewis rats with thyroglobulin via subcutaneous injection. Thyroid volume was assessed by ultrasound, and lymphatic infiltration in the thyroid was evaluated by haematoxylin and eosin staining. The serum levels of thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) and cytokines were measured by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The percentage of CD4CD25Foxp3Tregs was detected by flow cytometry. The mRNA and protein levels of IDO1 were measured by qRT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. The levels of tryptophan (Trp) and kynurenine (Kyn) in serum and faecal samples were assessed with a fluorometric kit and spectrophotometry.
RESULTS: The main bioactive compound in P. vulgaris was rosmarinic acid. The TgAb level and thyroid volume in EAT rats were significantly decreased after administration of P. vulgaris (P<0.01). The inflammation score in EAT rats that were administered P. vulgaris was significantly lower than that in the EAT controls (P<0.01). In addition, P. vulgaris promoted the expansion of splenic Tregs and increased the production of IL-10 and TGF-β (P<0.01) in EAT rats. Moreover, P. vulgaris induced IDO1 mRNA and protein expression in the spleen and intestine in P. vulgaris-treated EAT rats (P<0.01). Finally, Trp levels were reduced and Kyn levels and the Kyn/Trp ratio were increased in the serum of P. vulgaris-treated EAT rats.
CONCLUSION: We were the first to demonstrate the role of IDO1-induced Treg expansion in P. vulgaris-mediated attenuation of EAT. Our study provides insight into the immunopathogenesis of autoimmune thyroiditis and shows the potential therapeutic value of P. vulgaris.