Whole body irradiated mice appear to experience a down-regulation of the helper T (Th)1-like immune response, and maintain a persistent immunological imbalance. In the current study, we evaluated the effect of HemoHIM (an herbal product made from Angelica Radix, Cnidium officinale, and Paeonia japonica cultivated in Korea) to ameliorate the immunological imbalance induce in fractionated γ-irradiated mice. The mice were exposed to γ rays twice a week (0.5 Gy fractions) for a total dose of 5 Gy, and HemoHIM was administrated orally from 1 week before the first irradiation to 1 week before the final analysis. All experiments were performed 4 and 6 months after their first exposure. HemoHIM ameliorated the Th1- and Th2-related immune responses normally occur in irradiated mice with or without dinitrophenylated keyhole limpet hemocyanin immunization. HemoHIM also restored the natural killer cell activities without changing the percentage of natural killer cells in irradiated mice. Furthermore, the administration of HemoHIM prevented the reduction in levels of interleukin-12p70 in irradiated mice. Finally, we found that HemoHIM enhanced the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 4 that was reduced in irradiated mice. Our findings suggest that HemoHIM ameliorates the persistent down-regulation of Th1-like immune responses by modulating the IL-12p70/pSTAT4 signaling pathway.

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