Individual differences on immunostimulatory activity of raw and black garlic extract in human primary immune cells

Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2012 Aug;34(4):651-60. doi: 10.3109/08923973.2011.649288. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


The immunostimulatory activities of garlic extract using a cell line or animal models have been reported; however, no previous studies have evaluated individual differences in regards to the immunostimulatory activities. The immunostimulatory activities such as cell proliferation, tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) and nitric oxides (NO) production of raw garlic and black garlic extracts on individual primary lymphocytes or macrophages isolated from the blood of 21 volunteers were evaluated. The antioxidant and anticancer effects of raw garlic and black garlic ethanol extract was measured to determine the optimum conditions for extraction. The 70% ethanol black garlic extracts at 70°C for 12 h (70% BGE) showed the strongest antioxidant and anticancer activities. Immunostimulatory activities of garlic extracts extracted under optimal condition on primary immune cells obtained from 21 volunteers were analyzed. Results showed that the cell proliferation, TNF-α and NO production of primary immune cells treated with 70% raw garlic extract (70% RGE) were significantly different; however, little difference was observed for the 70% BGE treatment. BGE showed stronger immunostimulatory activities than RGE. These results indicate that the immunostimulatory activities of RGE and BGE can be strongly correlated with the antioxidant and anticancer activities. Determination of immunostimulatory activities of different types of garlic using immune cells isolated from volunteers was dependent on the individual constituents due to changes in the composition of garlic during processing. Individual primary immune cells might be used as important tools to determine individual differences in all food ingredients for the development of personalized immunostimulatory active foods.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / chemistry
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Complex Mixtures / chemistry
  • Complex Mixtures / pharmacology*
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Female
  • Garlic / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / immunology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Complex Mixtures
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Ethanol