Korean J Pediatr.  2005 Jul;48(7):779-788.

The Effects of Echinacea Extract on the Gene Expression of Monocytes and Monocyte-derived Dendritic Cells

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea. pedpje@ajou.ac.kr
  • 2The Graduate School of Bio & Information Technology, Hankyong National University, Ansung, Korea.
  • 3Department of Medical Science, Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Korea.
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Echinacea, a traditional plant medicine has been used as immune-stimulant. Recent studies have revealed that extract of Echinacea has immunostimulatory effects on human blood mononuclear cells. This study was designed for the purpose of screening the genes associated with immunologic effects of Echinacea on monocytes and dendritic cells using a cDNA microarray chip. METHODS: CD14+monocyte cells were cultured for one day with Echinacea extract (final concentration: 50 microgram/mL) in experiment 1, but were cultured without Echinacea in experiment 2. The gene expression of these cultured monocytes was analyzed using the cDNA microarray chip. Dendritic cells produced from CD14+monocyte were cultured for five days with GM-CSF and IL-4, and then cultured for one day with Echinacea in experiment 3, but were done without Echinacea in experiment 4. RESULTS: In experiments 1 and 2, there were 17 significantly expressed genes with average expression ratios above 2.5, including interferon gamma-inducible protein 30 (IFI 30), CDC (cell-division-cylcle)-like kinase 2 (CLK 2), syndecan binding protein (syntenin), superoxide dismutase 2, etc. In experiments 3 and 4, there were 24 gene, with significantly expressed genes were 24 genes, which were insulin-like growth factor 2 (somatomedin A), methyl-CpG binding domain protein 3, IFI 30, small inducible cytokine subfamily A, member 22, etc. The genes encoding CD44, IFI 30, mannose receptor C type 1 (MRC 1), chemokine receptor 7 (CCR 7), CLK 2, syntenin and cytochrome C oxidase subunit VIII were significantly expressed in both monocytes and dendritic cells cultured with Echinacea. CONCLUSION: This study employed a cDNA microarray chip to elicit the immune-associated gene profile; the expression was enhanced by Echinacea in CD14+monocytes and dendritic cells. Thus we laid the basis for the quantitative and functional analysis of genes induced by Echinacea in monocytes and monocyte-derived dendritic cells.


Echinacea; Monocyte; Monocyte-derived dendritic cell; cDNA microarray chip
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