Original Articles

Suppressive effects of safflower yellow on immune functions

Zheng-wu Lu, Fa Liu, Jian Hu, Di Bian, Fang-gui Li


Safflower yellow (SY) extracted from Carthamus tinctorius L contained chalconoid compounds, 75% of which was safflomin A. SY ip 50-450 mg.kg-1.d-1 x 6-8 d in mice decreased serum lysozyme concentration and phagocytosing functions of both peritoneal macrophages and peripheral leukocytes; diminished the production of plaque forming cells, specific rosette forming cells, and antibody; inhibited delayed type hypersensitivity reaction and the activation of T suppressor cells elicited by supraoptimal immunization. Experiments in vitro showed inhibitory effects on [3H]TdR incorporation during human peripheral T- and B-lymphocyte proliferation by SY 0.03-3.0, 0.1-2.0 mg.ml-1 respectively, murine mixed lymphocyte culture response and the production of interleukin-2 by SY 0.1-2.5 mg.ml-1. In conclusion, SY produced declines in both nonspecific and specific immune functions.

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