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Rhodiola rosea suppresses thymus T-lymphocyte apoptosis by downregulating tumor necrosis factor-α-induced protein 8-like-2 in septic rats

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In recent years, several studies have shown that Rhodiola rosea can enhance cellular immunity and humoral immune function in mice, and thus, it has become a research hotspot. However, its underlying mechanism of action has remained elusive. The present study investigated whether Rhodiola rosea was able to downregulate the expression of tumor necrosis factor-α-inducible protein 8-like 2 (TIPE2), thereby inhibiting the expression of apoptotic genes, attenuating Tlymphocyte apoptosis and improving immunity in septic mice. A mouse model of caecal ligation and puncture (CLP)induced sepsis was established, and animals in the treatment group were pre-treated with an intraperitoneal injection of Rhodiola rosea extract, while animals in the control group and sham-operated group were injected with an equivalent amount of normal saline. TIPE2, B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2), Fas and Fas ligand (FasL) mRNA and protein levels in thymic T cells were determined using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis, respectively. Furthermore, the thymus Tlymphocyte apoptosis rate, thymus Tlymphocyte count and thymus Tlymphocyte subsets were assessed using flow cytometry. Levels of T-helper cell type 1 (Th1) cytokines [Interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12 and interferon (IFN)-γ] and Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) were determined using ELISA. The results showed that, compared to that in the CLP group, the expression of TIPE2, Fas and FasL in the treatment group was significantly decreased, while the expression of Bcl-2 was increased (P<0.05). The thymus lymphocyte count in the CLP group was significantly higher compared with that in the treatment group (P<0.05). Furthermore, the apoptotic rate of thymus T-lymphocytes in the treatment group was significantly lower than that in the CLP group (P<0.05). In addition, treatment with Rhodiola rosea rescued decreased in the counts of the CD3+ T and CD4+ T subsets of thymus T lymphocytes in the CLP group (P<0.05), while not affecting the increased levels of Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) in the CLP group compared with those in the control groups. In addition, the Th1 cytokines (IL-12, IL-2 and IFN-γ) were significantly increased (P<0.05) in the CLP group, and treatment with Rhodiola rosea led to further increases. The thymus index of septic mice treated with Rhodiola rosea as well as their survival rate were improved as compared with those in the CLP group. These findings suggested that Rhodiola rosea has protective effects against sepsis by decreasing apoptosis, increasing Th1 cytokines and enhancing the host's immunity via the regulation of TIPE2 expression.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Emergency, The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, Yunnan 650032, P.R. China 2: Department of Emergency, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, Yunnan 650101, P.R. China 3: Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, Yunnan 650032, P.R. China

Publication date: 01 January 2015

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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