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Purpose: To investigate the combined effect of Linggui zhugan decoction and Western medicine on inflammatory cytokines, and immune and heart functions of patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), and the underlying mechanism(s).
Methods: Patients with CHF (n = 140) were randomly assigned to two groups: control group and study group (70 per group). Patients in the control group were treated with furosemide, metoprolol, spironolactone, isosorbide mononitrate, trimetazidine and irbesartan, once, twice or thrice daily. Study group patients were treated with a combination of Linggui zhugan decoction, in addition to the treatment given to the control group. Levels of inflammatory cytokines, T-lymphocyte subsets and cardiac function were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), flow cytometry and color Doppler echocardiography, as appropriate. Clinical effectiveness for the two groups were also assessed.
Results: Following the treatments, the serum levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukins-18 (IL-18) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) significantly decreased in the study group, when compared with the control group (p < 0. 05). However, the study group had markedly higher levels of CD3+ T, CD4+ T, and CD4+ T /CD8+ T than the control group (p < 0. 05). In addition, CD8+ T was significantly lower in the study group than in control group (p < 0. 05). Patients in the study group had significantly higher total treatment effectiveness than those in the control group (p < 0. 05).
Conclusion: These results suggest that co-administration of decoction of Linggui zhugan and western medicine improves ventricular function and reduces clinical symptoms in patients with CHF via a mechanism involving inhibition of inflammatory reactions.
Keywords: Chronic heart failure, Linggui zhugan decoction, Inflammatory cytokines, T- lymphocyte subsets, Cardiac function