Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Fox smell abrogates the effect of herbal odor to prolong mouse cardiac allograft survival

Xiangyuan Jin12, Masateru Uchiyama13, Qi Zhang14 and Masanori Niimi1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Teikyo University, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan

2 Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, the 4th Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, 37 Yiyuan Street, Nangang District, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province 150001, China

3 Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Teikyo University, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan

4 Department of Dermatology, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Urumqi Road 12, Shanghai, China

For all author emails, please log on.

Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 2014, 9:82  doi:10.1186/1749-8090-9-82

Published: 9 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Herbal medicines have unique odors, and the act of smelling may have modulatory effects on the immune system. We investigated the effect of olfactory exposure to Tokishakuyaku-san (TJ-23), a Japanese herbal medicine, on alloimmune responses in a murine model of cardiac allograft transplantation.

Methods

Naïve or olfactory-dysfunctional CBA mice underwent transplantation of a C57BL/6 heart and were exposed to the odor of TJ-23 until rejection. Some naïve CBA recipients of an allograft were given olfactory exposure to Sairei-to (TJ-114), trimethylthiazoline (TMT), individual components of TJ-23, or a TJ-23 preparation lacking one component. Adoptive transfer studies were performed to determine whether regulatory cells were generated.

Results

Untreated CBA mice rejected their C57BL/6 allografts acutely, as did olfactory-dysfunctional CBA mice exposed to the odor of TJ-23. CBA recipients of a C57BL/6 heart given olfactory exposure to TJ-23 had significantly prolonged allograft survival, whereas those exposed to the odor of TJ-114, TMT, one component of TJ-23, or TJ-23 lacking a component did not. Secondary allograft recipients that were given, at 30 days after transplantation, either whole splenocytes, CD4+ cells, or CD4+CD25+ cells from primary recipients exposed to the odor of TJ-23 had indefinitely prolonged allograft survival.

Conclusions

Prolonged survival of cardiac allografts and generation of regulatory cells was associated with exposure to the odor of TJ-23 in our model. The olfactory area of the brain may have a role in the modulation of immune responses.

Keywords:
Odor; Tokishakuyaku-san; Heart transplantation; Regulatory cells; Mouse