Lau DTW, Poon MKT, Leung HY, Ko KM
Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China.
This study aimed to explore a pharmacological activity marker for quality assurance of Dendrobium species. The immunopotentiating activity in aqueous extracts prepared from four Dendrobium species, including D. officinalis, was assessed by an in vitro assay of concanavalin A (Con A)-stimulated proliferation of mouse splenocytes. Four samples of commercially available Dendrobii Caulis were also analyzed for comparison. The results indicated that the aqueous extract of D. officinalis produced immunopotentiating action, as evi-denced by the increase in Con A-stimulated proliferation of mouse splenocytes, with the extent of stimula-tion being more prominent than those of other tested Dendrobium species and Dendrobii Caulis samples. In conclusion, an in vitro immunopotentiation assay may be used for assessing the pharmacological activity of Dendrobium species. The finding that D. officinalis produced a more potent immunopotentiating action is consistent with its “yin-nourishing” action in Chinese medicine, which is more effective than other Den-drobium species in clinical use.