Active Immunity

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Active Immunity

  1. Hsu TL,�Cheng SC,�Yang WB,�Chin SW,�Chen BH,�Huang MT,�Hsieh SL,�Wong CH. Profiling carbohydrate-receptor interaction with recombinant innate immunity receptor-Fc fusion proteins. J Biol Chem. 2009 Dec 11; 284(50): 34479-89.

*Quick Summary of Study: This study aims to find the mechanism in which Medicinal Mushrooms elucidate a positive effect on the immune system by studying several polysaccharide receptors found on different white blood cells of the innate immune system. Potential binding of these compounds to certain cell receptors may activate these white blood cells.



The recognition of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes is controlled by host immune cells, which are equipped with many innate immunity receptors, such as Toll-like receptors, C-type lectin receptors, and immunoglobulin-like receptors. Our studies indicate that the immune modulating properties of many herbal drugs, for instance, the medicinal fungus Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) and Cordyceps sinensis, could be attributed to their polysaccharide components. These polysaccharides specifically interact with and activate surface receptors involved in innate immunity. However, due to the complexity of polysaccharides and their various sources from medicinal fungi, quantitative analysis of medicinal polysaccharide extracts with regard to their functions represents a major challenge. To profile carbohydrate-immune receptor interactions, the extracellular domains of 17 receptors were cloned as Fc-fusion proteins, such that their interactions with immobilized polysaccharides could be probed in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results show that several innate immune receptors, including Dectin-1, DC-SIGN, Langerin, Kupffer cell receptor, macrophage mannose receptor, TLR2, and TLR4, interact with the polysaccharide extracts from G. lucidum (GLPS). This analysis revealed distinct polysaccharide profiles from different sources of medicinal fungi, and the innate immune receptor-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay described here can serve as a high-throughput profiling method for the characterization and quality control of medicinal polysaccharides. It also provides a means to dissect the molecular mechanism of medicinal polysaccharide-induced immunomodulation events.

  1. Bhaskaram P. Micronutrient malnutrition, infection, and immunity: an overview. Nut Rev. 2002 May; 60(5 Pt2): s40-45.

*Quick Summary of Study: This review article explores the role that vitamins and minerals have on maintaining a healthy immune system and preventing infections among underprivileged populations.


Micronutrient deficiencies and infectious diseases often coexist and exhibit complex interactions leading to the vicious cycle of malnutrition and infections among underprivileged populations of the developing countries, particularly in preschool children. Several micronutrients such as vitamin A, beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B12 vitamin C, riboflavin, iron, zinc, and selenium, have immunomodulating functions and thus influence the susceptibility of a host to infectious diseases and the course and outcome of such diseases. Certain of these micronutrients also possess antioxidant functions that not only regulate immune homeostasis of the host, but also alter the genome of the microbes, particularly in viruses, resulting in grave consequences like resurgence of old infectious diseases or the emergence of new infections. These micronutrient infection and immune function interactions and their clinical and public health relevance in developing countries are briefly reviewed in this article.


  1. Kiremidjian-Schumacher L,�Roy M,�Wishe HI,�Cohen MW,�Stotzky G. Supplementation with selenium and human immune cell functions. II. Effect on cytotoxic lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1994 Apr-May; 41(1-2): 115-127.

*Quick Summary of Study: Selenium supplementation was found to increase the activity of certain white blood cells compared to baseline values.


This study examined the effect of dietary (200 micrograms/d for 8 wk) supplementation with selenium (as sodium selenite) on the ability of human peripheral blood lymphocytes to respond to stimulation with alloantigen, develop into cytotoxic lymphocytes, and to destroy tumor cells, and on the activity of natural killer cells. The participants in the study were randomized for age, sex, weight, height, and nutritional habits and given selenite or placebo tablets; all participants had a selenium replete status as indicated by their plasma Se levels prior to supplementation. The data indicated that the supplementation regimen resulted in 118% increase in cytotoxic lymphocyte-mediated tumor cytotoxicity and 82.3% increase in natural killer cell activity as compared to baseline values. This apparently was related to the ability of the nutrient to enhance the expression of receptors for the growth regulatory lymphokine interleukin-2, and consequently, the rate of cell proliferation and differentiation into cytotoxic cells. The supplementation regimen did not produce significant changes in the plasma Se levels of the participants. The results indicated that the immunoenhancing effects of selenium in humans require supplementation above the replete levels produced by normal dietary intake.


  1. Kodama N,�Komuta K,�Nanba H. Effect of�Maitake�(Grifola�frondosa) D-Fraction on the activation of NK cells in�cancer�patients. J Med Food. 2003 Winter; 6(4): 371-377.

*Quick Summary of Study: This study investigated the role that Maitake Mushroom extract had on disease progression in cancer patients.


Maitake D-Fraction, extracted from maitake mushroom, has been reported to exert its antitumor effect in tumor-bearing mice by enhancing the immune system through activation of macrophages, T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. In a previous study, the combination of immunotherapy with the maitake D-Fraction and chemotherapy suggested that the D-Fraction may have the potential to decrease the size of lung, liver, and breast tumors in cancer patients. In the present study, we administered maitake D-Fraction to cancer patients without anticancer drugs, and at the same time NK cell activity was monitored to investigate whether the activity is closely related with disease progression. The numbers of CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells in the peripheral blood were measured in 10 patients, and NK cell activity was assessed using K-562 cells as target cells. Serum soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R) levels in three patients and the expression of tumor markers in four patients were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The slight changes observed in the CD4(+) and CD8(+) cell numbers were independent of disease severity or stage as well as serum sIL-2R levels. In contrast, maitake D-Fraction hindered metastatic progress, lessened the expression of tumor markers, and increased NK cell activity in all patients examined. Thus maitake D-Fraction appears to repress cancer progression and primarily exerts its effect through stimulation of NK activity. In addition, we conclude that measurement of NK cell activity may be a useful clinical parameter in monitoring disease progression during and following immunotherapy with maitake D-Fraction.


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