Immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology

The caffeic acid in aqueous extract of Tournefortia sarmentosa enhances neutrophil phagocytosis of Escherichia coli.

PMID 25311172


Tournefortia sarmentosa, a Chinese herbal medicine, is considered an antioxidant or a detoxicating agent. Recently T. sarmentosa has received attention for its effects on the immune response. Here we provide evidence that aqueous extract of T. sarmentosa can induce increased phagocytic uptake of Escherichia coli by differentiated HL-60 cells and by neutrophils. Our results also revealed that T. sarmentosa can inhibit E. coli survival within differentiated HL-60 cells. Furthermore, aqueous extract of T. sarmentosa has been shown to enhance cell surface Mac-1 expression and the activated AKT signaling pathway in E. coli-stimulated neutrophils. We also examined the effect of each constituents in aqueous extract of T. sarmentosa on phagocytic uptake of E. coli by differentiated HL-60 cells or neutrophils. Bacterial survival, cell surface Mac-1 expression, and AKT activation of neutrophils were also examined. Our results showed that caffeic acid is an important constituent in mediating aqueous extract of T. sarmentosa-induced phagocytic uptake. Taken together, these results suggest that aqueous extract of T. sarmentosa exerts effects that enhance inflammatory responses by improving phagocytic capability, inhibiting bacterial survival within cells, and increasing Mac-1 expression of neutrophils.