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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A water extract of Samchulkunbi-tang attenuates airway inflammation by inhibiting inos and MMP-9 activities in an ovalbumin-induced murine asthma model

Mee Young Lee, In Sik Shin, Hye Sun Lim and Hyeun Kyoo Shin*

Author Affiliations

Basic Herbal Medicine Research Group, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 483 Expo-ro, Yusung-gu, Daejeon, 305-811, Republic of Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:257  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-257

Published: 17 December 2012



In this study, we investigated the effect of Samchulkunbi-tang water extract (SCTE) in an established mouse model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic asthma. The effects of SCTE on the production of Th1 and Th2 cytokines, eotaxin, and total and OVA-specific immunoglobulin E, inducible nitric oxide synthase expression, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity were measured.


Mice were sensitized on days 0 and 14 with an intraperitoneal injection of 20 μg ovalbumin (OVA) emulsified in 2 mg aluminum hydroxide in 200 μL PBS buffer. On days 21, 22, and 23, mice received an airway exposure to OVA (1%, w/v, in PBS) for 1 h. SCTE was administered orally to mice at doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg per day from days 18 to 23.


SCTE reduced the number of inflammatory cells, cytokines, and chemokines in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids and iNOS expression and MMP-9 activity in mouse lung tissue. Histological studies using hematoxylin & eosin and periodic acid-schiff staining showed that SCTE substantially inhibited OVA-induced inflammatory cell infiltration in lung tissue and goblet cell hyperplasia in the airway. SCTE also reduced IL-4 and IL-13 expression in concanavalin-A-stimulated splenocytes. These results were similar to those obtained with montelukast as a positive control.


Collectively, these results suggest that SCTE may be an effective oral treatment for allergic airway inflammation by virtue of its anti-inflammatory activity.

Samchulkunbi-tang; Asthma; Cytokines; iNOS; MMP-9; Inflammation