J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 December; 126(6): 1208–17.e3.

Food Allergy Herbal Formula -2 protection against peanut anaphylactic reaction is via inhibition of mast cells and basophils
Ying Song, MD,1* Chunfeng Qu, Ph.D,1* Kamal Srivastava, M.Phil,1 Nan Yang, PhD,1 Paula Busse, MD,1 Wei Zhao, MD, PhD,2 and  Xiu-Min Li, MD1

Background
Mast cells and basophils are key effector cells of IgE-mediated anaphylactic reactions. The Chinese herbal formula, FAHF-2, protects against peanut anaphylaxis in mice. However, the mechanisms underlying this effect are not fully elucidated.
Objective
To investigate whether FAHF-2 inhibits mast cell/basophil numbers and IgE mediated activation.
Methods
Peanut allergic mice (PNA mice) were treated with FAHF-2 intragastrically (i.g.) for 7 weeks and challenged (i.g.) with peanut 1 day and 4 weeks post treatment. Peripheral blood basophil numbers and peritoneal mast cell numbers and Fc?RI expression were determined. Direct effects of FAHF-2 on murine mast cell line MC/9, and effects of four fractions and three compounds isolated from FAHF-2 on rat basophilic leukemia cells (RBL-2H3) and human skin mast cells degranulation, and on the IgE mediated Syk signaling pathway were determined.
Results
While all sham-treated PNA mice developed anaphylaxis, FAHF-2-treated PNA mice were protected against anaphylaxis following peanut challenge at 1 day and 4 weeks post therapy. Reduction of peripheral blood basophils began after 1 week of treatment and continued for at least 4 weeks post therapy. The number and Fc?RI expression of peritoneal mast cells were also significantly decreased 4 weeks post therapy. FAHF-2 treated MC/9 cells showed significantly reduced IgE-induced Fc?RI expression, Fc?RI ? mRNA subunit expression, proliferation, and histamine release upon challenge. Fraction 2 (F2) from FAHF-2 inhibited RBL-2H3 cell and human mast cell degranulation. Three compounds from F2- berberine, palmatine and jatrorrhizine inhibited of RBL-2H3 cell degranulation via suppressing Syk phosphorylation.
Conclusion
FAHF-2 reduction of basophils and mast cell numbers as well as suppression of IgE-mediated mast cell activation may contribute to FAHF-2 persistent protection against peanut anaphylaxis.
Clinical Implications
FAHF-2 blocked peanut anaphylaxis. This effect was associated with reduction of mast cells/basophils activation and proliferation. FAHF-2 may be a novel anti-peanut anaphylaxis therapy.
Keywords: peanut anaphylaxis, Chinese herbal medicine, mast cells/basophils, Fc?RI