Indexed on: 10 Sep '14Published on: 10 Sep '14Published in: PloS one
Yu-ping-feng-san (YPFS) is a Chinese medical formula that is used clinically for allergic diseases and characterized by reducing allergy relapse. Our previous studies demonstrated that YPFS efficiently inhibited T helper 2 cytokines in allergic inflammation. The underlying mechanisms of action of YPFS and its effective components remain unclear. In this study, it was shown that YPFS significantly inhibited production of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), an epithelial cell-derived initiative factor in allergic inflammation, in vitro and in vivo. A method of human bronchial epithelial cell (16HBE) binding combined with HPLC-MS (named 16HBE-HPLC-MS) was established to explore potential active components of YPFS. The following five components bound to 16HBE cells: calycosin-7-glucoside, ononin, claycosin, sec-o-glucosylhamaudol and formononetin. Serum from YPFS-treated mice was analyzed and three major components were detected claycosin, formononetin and cimifugin. Among these, claycosin and formononetin were detected by 16HBE-HPLC-MS and in the serum of YPFS-treated mice. Claycosin and formononetin decreased the level of TSLP markedly at the initial stage of allergic inflammation in vivo. Nuclear factor (NF)-κB, a key transcription factor in TSLP production, was also inhibited by claycosin and formononetin, either in terms of transcriptional activation or its nuclear translocation in vitro. Allergic inflammation was reduced by claycosin and formononetin when they are administered only at the initial stage in a murine model of atopic contact dermatitis. Thus, epithelial cell binding combined with HPLC-MS is a valid method for screening active components from complex mixtures of Chinese medicine. It was demonstrated that the compounds screened from YPFS significantly attenuated allergic inflammation probably by reducing TSLP production via regulating NF-κB activation.