You-Gui pills (You-Gui-Wan; YGW) can promote T lymphocyte proliferation and differentiation, and restore Th1/Th2 balance in the treatment of asthma, but their mechanism of action is not fully known. This study aims to explore whether YGW can induce histone deacetylation or acetylation in memory T lymphocytes (Tm) for improvement of airway inflammation in asthma.
CD4(+)CD45RB(low) cells, as Tm, were obtained by magnetic-activated cell sorting and flow cytometry from the spleens of BALB/c mice with ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma. Tm were cocultured with hydrocortisone (CORT; 1000 nM), serum containing low (0.225 g/kg), moderate (0.9 g/kg), or high (3.6 g/kg) doses of YGW, or medium only, and then adoptively transferred into naïve mice (n = 5 per group). Recipient mice were challenged with aerosolized OVA. The levels of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and IFN-γ in culture supernatants and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from the OVA-challenged mice were measured by ELISA. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) and histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activities and protein expressions of T-bet, GATA-3, and HDAC1-11 in lung tissue were measured by western blotting analyses. The alveolar eosinophilic inflammation index (AEII) was evaluated in the lungs of adoptive transfer recipient mice.
YGW reduced inflammation and eosinophil infiltration into the lung tissues as evidenced by histology, with similar effects to those of CORT. High-, moderate-, and low-YGW increased HDAC (P < 0.0001, P = 0.0009 and P = 0.0253 respectively) and decreased HAT (P = 0.0001, P = 0.0000 and P = 0.0039, respectively) activities in dose-dependent manners in the lung tissues of adoptive transfer recipient mice. Increased histone deacetylation of Tm by YGW reduced the AEII by reducing GATA-3 (P = 0.014),IL-4 (P = 0.0004), IL-5 (P = 0.0067), and IL-13 (P = 0.0002), and inducing IFN-γ release (P = 0.0375). Moreover, YGW reduced inflammatory cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 by upregulating the activities of HDAC7 (P = 0.003)/10 (P = 0.003), HDAC11 (P < 0.0001), and HDAC9-11 (P < 0.0001, P < 0.0001 and P < 0.0001, respectively), respectively, and increased IFN-γ release by increasing HDAC9 (P < 0.0001).
Histone deacetylation of Tm was observed during alleviation of allergen-induced eosinophilic airway inflammation in asthma by YGW.