by Qing-yang Liu, Yong-ming Yao, Yan Yu, Ning Dong, Zhi-yong Sheng
Astragalus polysaccharides (APS) isolated from one of the Chinese herbs, Astragalus mongholicus, are known to have a variety of immunomodulatory activities. However, it is not yet clear whether APS can exert an effect on the immune functions of regulatory T cells (Tregs). This study was carried out to investigate the effect of APS on the immune function of peripheral blood Tregs in postburn sepsis. Methodology/Principal Findings
BalB/c mice were randomly divided into six groups as follows: sham burn group, burn control(burn without infection animals) group, burn plus P. aeruginosa group, burn plus P. aeruginosa with APS (50 mg/kg) treatment group, burn plus P. aeruginosa with APS (100 mg/kg) treatment group, and burn plus P. aeruginosa with APS (200 mg/kg) treatment group, and they were sacrificed on postburn day 1, 3, 5, and 7, respectively, with seven animals at each time point. Magnetic microbeads were used to isolate peripheral blood Tregs and CD4+ T cells. Phenotypes were analyzed by flow cytometry, and cytokine levels were determined with ELISA. In the burn plus P. aeruginosa group, forkhead/winged helix transcription factor p3 (Foxp3) expression on CD4+CD25+Tregs were strongly enhanced in comparison to the sham group, and the capacity of CD4+CD25+Tregs to produce interleukin (IL)-10 was markedly increased. Administration of APS to inhibit CD4+CD25+Tregs could significantly decrease expression of Foxp3 on CD4+CD25+Tregs, and IL-10 production in burned mice with P. aeruginosa infection. At the same time, proliferative activity and expression of IL-2 and IL-2Ra on CD4+ T cells were restored. In contrast, anti-Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) antibody could block the effect of APS on Tregs immune function. Conclusion
APS might suppress CD4+CD25+Treg activity, at least in part, via binding TLR4 on Tregs and trigger a shift of Th2 to Th1 with activation of CD4+ T cells in burned mice with P. aeruginosa infection.