Immune homeostasis requires the differential and regulated expression of cytokines and their receptors. Modulation of the T helper (Th)1/Th2 balance by administration of cytokine antagonists can alters the outcome of diseases.
In this study, researchers investigated the effect of withania supplementation on this Th1/Th2 balance. Results showed significant selective up-regulation of the Th1 response. Treatment with withania showed significant increase in CD4 and CD8 counts as compared to control and cyclosporin, with a faster recovery of CD4 T cells in immunosuppressed subjects. Under immunosuppressed conditions, withania was shown to potentiate cellular and humoral immune responses and was comparable to levamisole. This study indicates the selective Th1 up-regulating effect of withania and suggests its use for selective Th1/Th2 modulation.
- Bani S, Gautam M, Sheikh F, et al. Selective Th1 up-regulating activity of Withania somnifera aqueous extract in an experimental system using flow cytometry. J Ethnopharmacol 2006;107(1):107-115. [Full text]