The immune-modulating activity of Sutherlandia frutescens
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Sutherlandia frutescens on the inflammatory response and T cell differentiation in vitro using cytokines as biomarkers. Whole blood cells containing various concentrations of Sutherlandia frutescens were stimulated in vitro with either Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or Phytohaemagglutinin (PHA). Results show that Sutherlandia frutescens is not toxic at any of the concentrations tested. The addition of Sutherlandia frutescens at high concentrations to the stimulated whole blood cell cultures reflects a significant down regulation of Interleukin(IL) 6 and IL-10 compared to the control (P<0.05) hence suppressed the inflammatory and humoral immune response. Results obtained for Inteferon-gamma (IFN ) shows that Sutherlandia frutescens is donor specific as it reflects both up and down regulation in the release of IFN at the concentrations tested. The in vitro data generated by this study supports the use of Sutherlandia frutescens in the management of inflammatory conditions and allergies such as asthma. However the effects of Sutherlandia frutescens on cell mediated immunity was found to be donor specific. Further investigation of Sutherlandia frutescens on cellular immunity is advised.