Extract of Pelargonium sidoides (EPs 7630) improves phagocytosis, oxidative burst, and intracellular killing of human peripheral blood phagocytes in vitro.

Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Phytomedicine (Impact Factor: 2.88). 03/2007; 14 Suppl 6:46-51. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2006.11.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Clinical data show that EPs 7630, an aqueous ethanolic extract from the roots of Pelargonium sidoides, can be used for the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). The biological effects of the preparation have not been fully investigated. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of EPs 7630 on the activity of human peripheral blood phagocytes (PBP). A whole blood-based, flow cytometric assay was used to simultaneously assess phagocytosis and oxidative burst. Calcein-AM stained Candida albicans (DSM 1386) were used as target organisms. Oxidative burst was measured by addition of dihydroethidium (DHE). Target organisms and whole blood were co-incubated and analyzed after 0, 2, 4, 6, 10, and 30 min. Intracellular killing of the target organisms was evaluated by determining the number of surviving yeast cells after co-incubation of C. albicans and human whole blood. EPs 7630 was applied in therapeutically relevant concentrations between 0 and 30 microg/ml. Compared with controls EPs 7630 increased the number of phagocytosing PBP during the observed time points between 2 and 10 min in a concentration-dependent manner, with a maximum enhancement of 56% at 2 min (p=0.002). The application of EPs 7630 also led to a significant increase in the number of burst-active PBP for all time points observed beyond 2 min (p<0.001). The maximum augmentation was 120% after application of 30 microg/ml EPs 7630 at 4 min. Using a microbiological assay, intracellular killing was also enhanced by EPs 7630. This was expressed by a significant reduction in the number of surviving target organisms (p<0.001). The maximum reduction in viable yeast cells (-31%) was observed after co-incubation for 120 min with the highest concentration of EPs 7630 (30 microg/ml). In conclusion, the positive effects of EPs 7630 on phagocytosis, oxidative burst, and intracellular killing of yeast cells as test organisms are important components of the compound's biological activity. Our findings constitute a valuable contribution to understanding the clinical effects of EPs 7630.

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    ABSTRACT: Pelargonium sidoides DC. (Geraniaceae), a popular medicinal plant used in traditional medicine in the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments has been transformed into a phytopharmaceutical (EPs(®) 7360) for treating respiratory tract infections. The increasing international demand for Pelargonium sidoides has led to localised overexploitation of its wild populations in southern Africa. The aim of the review is to provide a synthesis of the current state of scientific knowledge on the phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of Pelargonium sidoides as well as the potential role of plant biotechnology in its conservation. The review highlights knowledge gaps in these research areas. A comprehensive literature search involving mainly electronic and library sources of information were used to collate and synthesise published data. Experimental results from in vitro studies indicate that bioactive phytochemical constituents of Pelargonium sidoides may not possess a direct antimicrobial effect, but instead acts by interfering with microbial binding to host cell receptors, inhibition of key enzymes and the production of antimicrobial effector molecules such as nitric oxide and interferons (IFNs) by the host cells. Furthermore, clinical evaluations in randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated the beneficial effect of Pelargonium sidoides in the treatment of respiratory tract infections with few side effects. However, there is lack of adequate information on the safety evaluation of the plant. On the other hand, the increasing demand for Pelargonium sidoides has led to localised illegal harvesting of wild plants. Pharmacological data reported in literature suggest that Pelargonium sidoides shows a beneficial effect in the treatment of respiratory tract infections. However, more studies are required to elucidate the mode of action of the active constituents exhibited in the treatment of respiratory tract infections and other health conditions caused by microbial attack. Furthermore, the pharmacological usefulness of Pelargonium sidoides must take cognisance of the broader context involving the need for conservation-friendly approaches in its utilisation. In this regard, plant biotechnology applications can play a meaningful role in a holistic conservation strategy.
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    ABSTRACT: Pelargonium species contribute significantly to the health care of a large population in the Southern African region, as part of a long-standing medical system intimately linked to traditional healing practices. Most notably, extracts of the roots of P. sidoides have commonly been applied for the treatment of dysentery and diarrhoea but only occasionally for respiratory complaints. Clinical trials have shown that a modern aqueous-ethanolic formulation of P. sidoides extracts (EPs ® 7630) is an efficacious treatment for disorders of the respiratory tract, for example bronchitis and sinusitis. It should be noted that EPs ® 7630 is the most widely investigated extract and therefore is the focus of this review. In order to provide a rationale for its therapeutic activity extracts have been evaluated for antibacterial activity and for their effects on non-specific immune functions. Only moderate direct antibacterial capabilities against a spectrum of bacteria, including Mycobacteria strains, have been noted. In contrast, a large body of in vitro studies has provided convincing evidence for an anti-infective principle associated with activation of the non-specific immune system. Interestingly, significant inhibition of interaction between bacteria and host cells, a key to the pathogenesis of respiratory tract infections, has emerged from recent studies. In addition, antiviral effects have been demonstrated, including inhibition of the replication of respiratory viruses and the enzymes haemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Besides, an increase of cilliary beat frequency of respiratory cells may contribute to the beneficial effects of P. sidoides extracts. This example provides a compelling argument for continuing the exploration of Nature and traditional medical systems as a source of therapeutically useful herbal medicines.
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