Immunomodulatory effects of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) extract in female B6C3F1/N mice.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 527N. 12(th) Street, Room 2-009, Richmond, VA 23298, USA. Electronic address: .
Toxicology (Impact Factor: 3.75). 04/2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2013.03.017
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Black cohosh extracts (BCE; Actaea racemosa) are being used worldwide as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for the management of menstrual and menopausal symptoms, yet the effects of BCE on the immune system are largely unknown. Female B6C3F1/N mice were treated daily with BCE (0, 62.5, 125, 250, 500, or 1000mg/kg) for 28 days by oral gavage. Liver weights were significantly increased (26%-32%) at the 1000mg/kg dose. Dose-related increases in mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular hemoglobin were observed. Decreasing trends were observed in all thymic T cell populations, with the most notable dose-responsive effects on immature thymocytes. In the spleen, dose-related decreases were observed in all cell phenotypes evaluated, reaching the level of statistical significance at the 1000mg/kg BCE dose. Splenic natural killer (NK) cell numbers were significantly decreased at all BCE doses, with the exception of absolute NK numbers at the 125mg/kg dose. No effects were observed on T-dependent antibody responses of the humoral immune system, including the antibody-forming cell response to sheep erythrocytes (sRBC) and IgM antibody levels to both sRBC and keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Cytotoxic T cell (TCTL) activity was increased, as was the mixed leukocyte response in one of two studies. Anti-CD3 mediated proliferation and the delayed-type hypersensitivity response were unaffected. No effects were observed on innate immunity or on bone marrow cellularity and colony-forming units. Overall, BCE exposure in B6C3F1/N mice for 28 days at doses up to 1000mg/kg had minimal immune effects, with the exception of an increased TCTL response.