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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Chinese Medicine 1/2017

Glossogyne tenuifolia (Hsiang-ju) extract suppresses T cell activation by inhibiting activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase

Chinese Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2017
Jer-Yiing Houng, Tzong-Shyuan Tai, Shu-Ching Hsu, Hsia-Fen Hsu, Tzann-Shun Hwang, Chih-Jiun Lin, Li-Wen Fang
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13020-017-0130-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Jer-Yiing Houng and Tzong-Shyuan Tai contributed equally to this work



Glossogyne tenuifolia (GT) (Hsiang-ju) is a Chinese herbal medicine previously exhibited an anti-inflammatory activity. This study aimed to investigate the effect of GT ethanol extract (GTE) on T cell-mediated adaptive immunity.


Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and Jurkat T cells were activated by phytohemagglutinin in the presence of various doses (3.13–50 μg/mL) of GTE. The effect of GTE on T cell activation was examined by a proliferation assay of activated PBMCs and the level of the activation marker CD69 on the surface of activated Jurkat T cells. Apoptosis was determined by propidium iodide staining in hypotonic solution. Signaling pathway molecules were assessed by western blotting.


Glossogyne tenuifolia ethanol extract was demonstrated to inhibit T cell activation, not only in the proliferation of human PBMCs at the concentrations of 12.5, 25 and 50 μg/mL (P = 0.0118, 0.0030 and 0.0021) but also in the CD69 expression in Jurkat cells, which was not due to the cytotoxicity of GTE. The presence of GTE did not change the activity of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells or extracellular signal-regulated kinase upon T cell activation. In addition, GTE significantly reduced activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) (P = 0.0167) and p38 (P = 0.0278). Furthermore, decreased JNK activation mediated the preventive effect of GTE on T cell activation-induced cell death (AICD).


Glossogyne tenuifolia ethanol extract inhibited T cell activation of Jurkat cells and freshly prepared human PBMCs due to suppression of JNK activity. Furthermore, GTE inhibited AICD by blocking prolonged JNK phosphorylation in activated T cells. Taken together, the anti-inflammatory effects exerted by GTE were mediated via suppression of JNK phosphorylation in T cell activation.
Additional file 1. Documentation of permission of research ethic protocol.
Additional file 2. Affidavit of approval of Animal Use Protocol.
Additional file 3. Minimum standards checklist for confirming the information of methods.
Additional file 4. Inhibitory proliferative effect of GTE on PHA-stimulated PBMCs from four individuals. Data are expressed as CPM of 3H-thymidine incorporation and represented as mean ± SD.
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