A Chinese herbal medicine called SS-1 may reduce inflammation and improve saliva flow, possibly due to an inhibitory effect on dendritic cells, a component of the innate immune system, according to a recent study on a model. murine Sjögren syndrome.
The study, “Effect of Chinese Herbal Medicine SS-1 on Sjögren’s Syndrome-like Disease in Mice, ”Was published in the journal Life.
Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which a misguided immune response backs up against the glands that produce tears and saliva, resulting in dry eyes and mouth.
The disorder currently lacks disease-modifying drugs, with patients relying instead on therapies that relieve symptoms. Although some patients research Chinese herbal remedies, there is no scientific evidence that they can effectively treat Sjögren’s disease.
In a previous clinical trial (NCT02110446), researchers affiliated with the China University Medical Hospital in Taiwan, along with several other Taiwanese institutions, investigated the potential of SS-1 – a herbal formula whose ingredients have anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antifibrotic properties. effects – as a treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome.
The trial confirmed the therapeutic benefits of SS-1 in patients, but the mechanisms leading to such positive effects remain unknown.
To answer this question, the same team looked at the effects of SS-1 in a mouse model with experimental Sjögren syndrome. The disease was induced by injecting animals with submandibular salivary gland protein, which mimics or “recapitulates the main characteristics of humans.” [Sjögren’s syndrome]The researchers wrote.
Two weeks after disease induction, the animals were randomly assigned to receive SS-1 or water, administered orally twice daily for approximately 1.5 months.
The results showed that, compared to water, treatment with SS-1 significantly increased saliva flow and reduced the number of antibody-producing immune cells that infiltrated the saliva-producing submandibular glands.
It also significantly reduced the number of inflammatory cytokines – small molecules used by immune cells to communicate – found in the salivary glands of mice and limited the growth of immune T cells that produce them. These molecules tend to be overproduced in Sjögren syndrome.
The researchers studied the effect that SS-1 might have on anti-SSA and anti-M3R antibodies, which play a key role in Sjögren syndrome. Although the treatment reduced the amount of anti-M3R antibodies, it had no significant effect on those against SSA.
The team also noted that dendritic cells, a component of the adaptive immune system, matured less in response to SS-1 treatment. As these cells mature, they become able to activate immune cells that produce inflammatory cytokines associated with Sjögren syndrome.
The therapeutic effect of SS-1, they suggested, could be related to its ability to partially prevent dendritic cell maturation, thereby suppressing downstream cytokines.
“These results,” the researchers concluded, “indicate that SS-1 treatment may be an effective and safe therapeutic strategy and may be used as an immunomodulator for T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, including [Sjögren’s syndrome]. “