Effect of the Chinese Herbal Medicine SS-1 on a Sjögren’s Syndrome-Like Disease in Mice
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Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease primarily affecting the exocrine glands; it has a major impact on patients’ lives. The Chinese herbal formula SS-1 is composed of Gan Lu Yin, Sang Ju Yin, and Xuefu Zhuyu decoction, which exerts anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antifibrotic effects. Our previous study demonstrated that SS-1 alleviates clinical SS. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and mechanism of the Chinese herbal formula SS-1 for salivary gland protein-induced experimental Sjögren’s syndrome (ESS). These results showed that ESS treatment with the Chinese herbal formula SS-1 (1500 mg/kg) significantly alleviated the severity of ESS. We found that SS-1 substantially improved saliva flow rates in SS mice and ameliorated lymphocytic infiltrations in submandibular glands. In addition, salivary gland protein-induced SS in mice treated with SS-1 significantly lowered proinflammatory cytokines (including IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-17A) in mouse salivary glands and decreased serum anti-M3R autoantibody levels. In addition, we found that CD4+ T cells isolated from SS-1-treated SS mice significantly reduced the percentages of IFN-γ-producing CD4+ T cells (Th1) and IL-17A-producing CD4+ T cells (Th17). Our data show that SS-1 alleviates ESS through anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, which provides new insight into the clinical treatment of SS.