Airborne particulate matter (PM) has become a serious health issue causing pulmonary diseases such as asthma. Due to the side effects and non-specificity of conventional drugs, there is a need to develop natural-product-based alternative treatments. Sargassum horneri is a brown alga shown to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic effects. Thus, we sought to determine whether ethanol extract of Sargassum horneri (SHE) mitigates the effect of PM exposure on asthma development. To establish a mouse model of asthma, BALB/c mice were sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA, 10 μg) and challenged with PM (5 mg/m) for 7 days consecutively. SHE (200, 400 mg/kg), Prednisone (5 mg/kg), or PBS was daily administrated orally before PM exposure. SHE mitigated PM exacerbated dendritic cell activation. More importantly, SHE restrained Th2 polarization by attenuating transcription factors GATA3 and STAT5, which further mitigated the expression of Th2 cytokines interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13 in the lung homogenates of PM-exacerbated asthmatic mice. SHE further attenuated PM-exacerbated eosinophil infiltration in the lung, trachea, and BALF. In addition, SHE markedly mitigated the activation of mast cells and the IgE level in serum. Concomitantly, SHE further restrained the Th17 cell response in PM-exposed allergic mice through attenuating expression of transcription factors RORγT, STAT3 and expression of relevant effector cytokines IL-17a. This resulted in mitigated neutrophil infiltration in the lung. Taken together, SHE significantly suppressed PM-exacerbated hypersecretion of mucus in asthmatic mice. These results suggest that SHE has therapeutic potential for treating PM-exacerbated allergic asthma through concomitantly inhibiting Th2/Th17 responses.
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