Toll-like receptor 2-dependent activation of monocytes by Spirulina polysaccharide and its immune enhancing action in mice

Int Immunopharmacol. 2006 Dec 5;6(12):1808-14. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2006.08.001. Epub 2006 Aug 28.


We reported previously that a high molecular weight polysaccharide fraction (Immulina) from Spirulina was a potent activator of NF-kappa B and induced both IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha mRNAs in THP-1 human monocytes. In the present study, we show that NF-kappa B activation by Immulina is suppressed by antibodies to CD14 and TLR2 but not by antibodies to TLR4. Similarly, NF-kappa B directed luciferase expression was enhanced by Immulina treatment when cells were co-transfected with vectors expressing proteins supporting TLR2- (CD14 and TLR2) but not TLR4-(CD14, TLR4, and MD-2) dependent activation. Mice that consumed a chemically defined chow mixed with an extract containing Immulina exhibited changes in several immune parameters. The ex vivo production of IgA and IL-6 from Peyer's patch cells was enhanced 2-fold and interferon-gamma production from spleen cells was increased 4-fold in Immulina-treated mice. The enhanced production of these factors was most notable with mice that had consumed this extract for 4 or 5 days. These studies shed light on how Immulina activates cells of the innate immune system and suggests that oral consumption of this polysaccharide can enhance components within both the mucosal and systemic immune systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / immunology
  • Mice
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • NF-kappa B / immunology
  • Peyer's Patches / cytology
  • Peyer's Patches / immunology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • Spirulina / chemistry*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / immunology*


  • Immulina
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polysaccharides
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • TLR2 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Interferon-gamma