Amaranth Grain Inhibits Antigen-Specific IgE Production Through Augmentation of the IFN-gamma Response in vivo and in vitro

Cytotechnology. 2003 Nov;43(1-3):33-40. doi: 10.1023/b:cyto.0000039908.34387.d3.


Amaranthus hypochondriacus L. (amaranth) is a nutritionally protein rich plant with a good yield, but there has been no research concerning its immunological effects in vivo or in vitro. In the present study, we examined the effects of amaranth grain on cytokine and IgE production using in vitro helper T cell development and IgE production assays and an animal model of an orally-induced, allergen-specific IgE response. First, we examined the effect of orally administered amaranth on serum IgE concentration which reflects the immune response during allergic disease. We observed significantly decreased (p < 0.05) allergen-specific IgE in the blood of mice in our animal model. We found that orally fed amaranth significantly augmented (p < 0.05) IFN-gamma production of spleen cells. In vitro studies demonstrated that the water-soluble fraction of amaranth grain promoted helper T cell type-1 (Th1) phenotype development. Moreover, we found that the amaranth grain extract suppressed antigen-specific IgE production in vitro. These data indicate that there is a component in amaranth grain which has a suppressive effect on IgE production and augments Th1 cytokine production. In conclusion, we found that amaranth grain and its extract inhibited antigen-specific IgE production through augmenting Th1 cytokine responses in vivo and in vitro.