Propionibacterium acnes acts as an adjuvant in in vitro immunization of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Aug;71(8):1963-9. doi: 10.1271/bbb.70159. Epub 2007 Aug 7.


We have established an in vitro immunization protocol whereby human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are initially treated with L-leucyl-L-leucine methyl ester (LLME) and subsequently sensitized with antigen in the presence of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, and adjuvant. This protocol resulted in the production of antigen-specific antibodies. PBMCs are potentiated to react with exogenous antigens upon treatment with LLME. We are using this system to investigate the immunomodulatory activity of additives. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the immunomodulatory activity of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which is known to exhibit various immunomodulatory effects in murine models, using this in vitro immunization protocol. P. acnes was found to augment the production of antigen-specific antibodies by PBMC, possibly through increased production of inflammatory cytokines and/or increased T-B cell interaction. P. acnes hence appears to act as an adjuvant in the antibody response in in vitro immunization.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Antibody Formation*
  • Biological Therapy
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dipeptides / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Immunization / methods*
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Propionibacterium acnes / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Dipeptides
  • Interleukin-2
  • leucyl-leucine-methyl ester
  • Interleukin-4