During past few decades, studies have demonstrated that particulate matter (PM) is the most serious environmental pollutant in industrial countries which mainly contributes for increasing prevalence of chronic respiratory inflammatory diseases. Healthy food supplements to prevent the inflammatory diseases are common and show notable effects. The effects of the extract of Pyrus nivalis, a common fruit and herbal medicine in Taiwan, on PM-induced airway inflammation in mice were investigated by feeding the extract orally for 21 days. Results obtained from lung histology and bronchial alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) cell profile showed that oral feeding of P. nivalis extract did not affect the airway inflammation. However, it increased the phagocytic activity in BALF cells and induced M1-dominant macrophage differentiation in lungs. Our study showed that extract of P. nivalis might present the beneficial and therapeutic potential for clearance of PM and pathogens in airway. Practical applications: Pyrus nivalis is a common fruit and also used extensively in Chinese herbology. The pharmacological effects of P. nivalis have been reported in ancient Chinese Medical literature and known to possess anti-asthma and anti-cough properties as well as to enhance function of lungs. In this study, we found that orally feeding the extract of P. nivalis did not induce airway inflammation and affect particulate matter (PM)-induced inflammatory cells infiltration in lungs but increased phagocytosis with or without PM treatment which might indicate its therapeutic potential for clearance of PM and pathogens in airway.
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