Ethanol Extract of Fermented Soybean, Chungkookjang, Inhibits the Apoptosis of Mouse Spleen, and Thymus Cells

J Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(3):256-61.


Apoptosis is a step of the cell cycle which is important in the regulation of immune cell populations. Chungkookjang is a Korean traditional fermented soybean containing microorganisms, enzymes, and bioactive compounds which was used in the treatment of mouse spleen as well as thymus cells (CH1-fermented soybean containing barley, wormwood, and sea tangle; CH2-fermented soybean) and was found to exhibit substantially reduced small DNA fragmentation. An MTT assay showed that the treatment of CH1 and CH2 into the mouse splenocytes and thymocytes sharply increased their survival. Moreover, a FACS analysis also showed that CH1 and CH2 are effective at suppressing the apoptosis of splenocytes and thymocytes. The fermented soybean isoflavone concentrations, which are implicated in lowering breast and prostate cancers, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and improving bone health, were determined using Capillary Electrophoresis-Electrochemical Detection (CE-ED). The amount of Daidzein in fermented soybean significantly increased by 44-fold dramatically, compared with those in unfermented soybean. In this study, we demonstrated that ethanol extracts of Chungkookjang promote the survival of the mouse spleen and thymus cells in culture by suppressing their apoptotic death. Future studies should investigate which genes are related to apoptosis of the immune cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Annexin A5 / analysis
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary
  • Fermentation
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Isoflavones / analysis
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Propidium / metabolism
  • Soybeans / metabolism*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Tetrazolium Salts / metabolism
  • Thiazoles / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / cytology


  • Annexin A5
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Isoflavones
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Propidium
  • thiazolyl blue