Dietary nucleic acids promote a shift in Th1/Th2 balance toward Th1-dominant immunity

Clin Exp Allergy. 2000 Jul;30(7):979-87. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.2000.00811.x.


Background: Dietary sources of nucleic acids and their relative components are known to affect host immune function; however, it has not yet been clarified whether such dietary nucleic acids influence the pathogenesis of allergic reaction.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to elucidate the effect of dietary nucleic acids on Th1/Th2 balance.

Methods: Both human flora-associated and specific pathogen-free BALB/c mice were maintained on either nucleic acid-free, or -supplemented diets. The effects of nucleic acids on both in vivo antibody levels and in vitro splenocyte cytokine production were compared using these mice.

Results: Supplementation of nucleic acids caused a reduction in the serum antibody levels of total IgM, IgG, IgG1, and IgE in the human flora-associated mice without affecting the composition of intestinal flora. In contrast, there was no significant difference of the serum IgG2a levels between nucleic acid-free and -supplemented mice. Such a phenomenon as that, the supplementation of dietary nucleic acids reduces the serum IgE or IgG1 levels, but not the IgG2a level, was also seen in the specific pathogen free mice. Moreover, when the mice were systematically challenged with ovalbumin, the supplementation of nucleic acids also suppressed the serum ovalbumin-specific IgE and IgG1 antibody levels as well as in vitro IL-4 and IL-10 secretion, while enhancing both the serum ovalbumin-specific IgG2a antibody levels and in vitro IFN gamma secretion.

Conclusion: These results suggested that dietary nucleic acids may play an important role in promoting a shift in Th1/Th2 balance toward Th1-dominant immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Immunity
  • Immunoglobulins / blood*
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nucleic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Interleukins
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Ovalbumin