Juzen-taiho-to (JTX), one of the commonly prescribed traditional Japanese herbal medicines (Kampo), is indicated for adjunctive treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases. To understand the mechanisms underlying the clinical effects of JTX, the effects of orally administered JTX on the expression of metallothioneins (MTs) were examined in the liver, spleen, small and large intestines of mice. In addition, the expression of MTs in specific pathogen free (SPF) mice was examined to understand the participation of intestinal bacteria in the expression of MTs. JTX enhanced expression of MT-I and -II significantly in the liver of SPF mice. Induction of MT-II expression was observed also in the small intestine. Intestinal bacteria appeared to have no effect on MTs expression. Neither expression of MT-III nor its induction was observed in any tissue. These findings strongly suggest that MTs should mediate at least some effects of JTX in mice.
- Herbal medicine
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