The Pelargonium sidoides Extract EPs 7630 Drives the Innate Immune Defense by Activating Selected MAP Kinase Pathways in Human Monocytes.
PLoS One. 2015 ;10(9):e0138075. Epub 2015 Sep 25. PMID: 26406906
Pelargonium sidoides is a medical herb and respective extracts are used very frequently for the treatment of respiratory tract infections. However, the effects of Pelargonium sidoides and a special extract prepared from its roots (EPs 7630) on human immune cells are not fully understood. Here we demonstrate that EPs 7630 induced a rapid and dose-dependent production of TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 by human blood immune cells. This EPs 7630-induced cytokine profile was more pro-inflammatory in comparison with the profile induced by viral or bacterial infection-mimicking agents. The search for EPs 7630 target cells revealed that T-cells did not respond to EPs 7630 stimulation by production of TNF-α, IL-6, or IL-10. Furthermore, pretreatment of T-cells with EPs 7630 did not modulate their TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 secretion during subsequent activation. In contrast to lymphocytes, monocytes showed clear intracellular TNF-α staining after EPs 7630 treatment. Accordingly,EPs 7630 predominantly provoked activation of MAP kinases and inhibition of p38 strongly reduced the monocyte TNF-α production. The pretreatment of blood immune cells with EPs 7630 lowered their secretion of TNF-α and IL-10 and caused an IL-6 dominant response during second stimulation with viralor bacterial infection-mimicking agents. In summary, we demonstrate that EPs 7630 activates human monocytes, induces MAP kinase-dependent pro-inflammatory cytokines in these cells, and specifically modulates their production capacity of mediators known to lead to an increase of acute phase proteinproduction in the liver, neutrophil generation in the bone marrow, and the generation of adaptive Th17 and Th22 cells.