In this study, combinations of Ginkgo biloba leaf extract (EGb761) plus the carotenoid antioxidant astaxanthin (ASX) and vitamin C were evaluated for a summative dose effect in the inhibition of asthma-associated inflammation in asthmatic guinea-pigs. Ovalbumin-sensitized Hartley guinea-pigs challenged with ovalbumin aerosol to induce asthma, were administered EGb761, ASX, vitamin C or ibuprofen. Following killing, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was evaluated for inflammatory cell infiltrates and lung tissue cyclic nucleotide content. Each parameter measured was significantly altered to a greater degree by drug combinations, than by each component acting independently. An optimal combination was identified that included astaxanthin (10 mg/kg), vitamin C (200 mg/kg) and EGb761 (10 mg/kg), resulting in counts of eosinophils and neutrophils each 1.6-fold lower; macrophages 1.8-fold lower, cAMP 1.4-fold higher; and cGMP 2.04-fold higher than levels in untreated, asthmatic animals (p < 0.05). In conclusion, EGb761, ASX and vitamin C are shown here to interact summatively to suppress inflammation with efficacy equal to or better than ibuprofen, a widely used non-steroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID). Such combinations of non-toxic phytochemicals constitute powerful tools for the prevention of onset of acute and chronic inflammatory disease if consumed regularly by healthy individuals; and may also augment the effectiveness of therapy for those with established illness.
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