Immulina®, a commercial extract of Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis is a potent activator of THP-1 monocytes and CD4+ T cells IN VITRO and enhances several immunological functions in mice. We further characterized Immulina® by determining that Braun-type lipoproteins are responsible for a major portion of the IN VITRO monocyte activation exhibited by this material. In order to understand the effect of Immulina® on NK cell activity, a pilot study was conducted on ten healthy North American individuals who supplemented their diet with Immulina® (400 mg/day) for seven days. We observed a 40% average increase in the killing of K562 tumor cells by NK cells (p < 0.01) after Immulina® supplementation. In a separate placebo-controlled, crossover study involving 11 healthy Danish subjects, we observed increased mRNA expression of the NK cell marker NKG2D by 37% (p = 0.02) and by 55% (p = 0.0003) after administration of Immulina® (200 mg and 400 mg per day, respectively) for seven days. The mRNA expression of the NK- and T-cell marker perforin increased by 75% (p = 0.008) after administration of 400 mg Immulina® per day. Both markers displayed significant dose-dependent effects (p = 0.0003 and p = 0.02, respectively). The ratio between CD56 (bright) and CD56 (dim) NK cells was not affected by Immulina® administration. In summary, two independent studies showed enhancement of NK cell activity following administration of Immulina® for seven days.
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