Catalpol alleviates ovalbumin-induced asthma in mice: Reduced eosinophil infiltration in the lung

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Radix Rehmanniae Preparata is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine used to treat asthma, and catalpol is one of the main active ingredients in this herb. In the present study, the effects of catalpol on asthma and the underlying mechanism were explored.


Mice with ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma were given 5 or 10 mg/kg catalpol from Day 15 to Day 28 (intraperitoneal injection). Histopathologic changes were detected by Hematoxylin and Eosin staining and Periodic Acid Schiff staining. The levels of IgE, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5 and eotaxin were measured by ELISA. The numbers of lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils and eosinophils in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were determined by Wright-Giemsa staining. The expression and distribution of eotaxin and C-C chemokine receptor 3 (CCR3) were detected by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. The expression of interleukin-5 receptor α (IL-5Rα) was detected by Western blot assay.


Catalpol inhibited OVA-induced inflammation and IgE secretion in the lung. OVA-induced type 2 inflammation was suppressed by catalpol as evidenced by decreased levels of IL-4 and IL-5. Moreover, catalpol inhibited the aberrant eosinophil infiltration in the lungs, and also suppressed OVA-induced elevation of eosinophil chemokine eotaxin and its receptor CCR3. In addition, IL-5Rα expression in the bone marrow cells derived from catalpol-treated asthmatic mice was lower than that from the untreated asthmatic mice.


Our study demonstrated that catalpol attenuated OVA-induced asthma and inhibit the infiltration of inflammatory cells, especially eosinophils, into the lung. This study suggests that catalpol may become a promising drug for the treatment of asthma.

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