Classification of Sasang constitutional body types using immunostimulatory activities of constitution-specific herbal extracts in human primary immune cells.
ABSTRACT Sasang is a Korean traditional constitutional medicine in which individuals are classified into four constitutional types: Taeyangin, Soeumin, Taeumin, and Soyangin. However, the classification of each constitution is empirical and not scientific, and so it is difficult to consistently classify patients into these four constitutional types. Acanthopanacis cortex (AC; Taeyangin), Rehmanniae radix (RR; Soyangin), Ephedra herba (EH; Taeumin), and White ginseng (WG; Soeumin) are herbal medicines that are used to treat and prevent diseases associated with these four constitutions. Therefore, AC, RR, EH, and WG extracts (ACE, RRE, EHE, and WGE) were used as reference extracts to determine constitutional differences in the immunostimulatory activities of primary immune cells isolated from the blood of 15 volunteers. Cellular proliferation, nitric oxide (NO), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) protein production, TNF-α and interleukin-6, and inducible NO synthase mRNA expression were measured as the immunostimulatory parameters. The increase in cell proliferation of V2, V3, V8, V11, and V12 was highest in EHE-treated lymphocytes among the ACE-, RRE-, EHE- or WGE-treated lymphocytes, and increase in cellular proliferation of V4, V7, V13, V14, and V15 in RRE-treated lymphocytes was significantly better than the other three medicines. The cell proliferation of V1, V5, V6, V9, and V10 responded best to WGE among the four extracts. Results of cell proliferation and other immunostimulatory parameters showed similar trends in regard to individual differences. These extracts may be useful as reference extracts in the development of a rapid and dependable individual lymphocyte- or macrophage-based assay that aids in the Sasang constitutional classification.