The effect of consumption of Immulina, a high-molecular-weight polysaccharide extract from the cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis, on adaptive immune responses was investigated by evaluation of changes in leukocyte responsiveness to two foreign recall antigens, Candida albicans (CA) and tetanus toxoid (TT), in vitro. Consumption of Immulina by 11 healthy male volunteers caused an immediate, but temporary, increase of CA-induced CD4+ T-helper (Th) cell proliferation (P < .02). TT-induced Th cell proliferation was increased in individuals over 50 years of age (P < .05) and correlated with age (P < .02). Consumption for 8 days enhanced the CA-induced B cell proliferation (P < .02), but after 56 days a diminution was seen (P < .03). The CA-elicited production of the Th1 cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-2, and interferon (IFN)-gamma was increased after Immunlina administration for 3 days (P < .001, < .03, and < .007, respectively), and increased IL-2 production persisted after 56 days (P < .004). The TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, and IL-6 responses to TT were enhanced after 8 and 14 days (P < .002-.05), while IL-5 responses increased significantly within 3 days (P < .04) and fell below baseline levels after 14 days (P < .008). Conversely, consumption for 3 days inhibited the IL-4 responses to both CA and TT (P < .008 and P < .03, respectively). No effects on IL-10 responses were observed. Upon addition to normal mononuclear cells in vitro, Immulina elicited strong TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6 responses, indicating that it acts by inducing a pro-inflammatory state. Taken together, the data suggest that Immulina causes an age-dependent, temporary enhancement of adaptive immune responses.