Immunostimulatory Activity of Protein Hydrolysate from Oviductus Ranae on Macrophage In Vitro
Prunella vulgaris (P. vulgaris) has been used as a traditional medicine in the clinical treatment of herpetic keratitis and for its antioxidative and antimicrobial activities. In this study, we examined the immunostimulatory and antitumor activity of P. vulgaris in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cells. Thus, we investigated the effects of an aqueous extract of P. vulgaris (PVAE) on macrophage function. We found that PVAE stimulated macrophage phagocytic activity, nitric oxide (NO) production and cytostatic activity. In addition, PVAE induced gene expression and production of macrophage-related cytokines such as TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-6. Transient transfection revealed that NF-kappaB mediated the PVAE-induced increases in macrophage-related cytokine expression levels. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAP Kinase) were also significantly activated by the PVAE-induced NF-kappaB activation. Pretreatment with NF-kappaB inhibitor and MAP Kinase inhibitors inhibited the NO production and the phagocytic activity induced by PVAE. This demonstrates that PVAE stimulates macrophage activation via NF-kappaB transactivation and MAP kinase activation.