Immunomodulatory effects of aqueous and organic fractions from Petiveria alliacea on human dendritic cells

Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(4):833-44. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X12500620.


Petiveria alliacea is a plant traditionally known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities; however, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of its immunomodulatory properties are still unknown. Dendritic cells (DC) promote adaptive immune response by activating T lymphocytes, inducing an effector response or tolerance depending on the DC differentiation level. Herein, we evaluated the immunomodulatory activity of aqueous and organic plant fractions from P. alliacea using human monocyte-derived dendritic cells. The phenotype, cytokine secretion and gene expression were estimated after treatment with the plant fractions. We found that P. alliacea aqueous fraction induced morphological changes and co-stimulatory expression of CD86, indicating partial DC maturation. In addition, pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, and TNF-α were secreted. The fraction also increased NF-κB gene expression while down-regulating TGFβ gene expression. These results suggest that the aqueous fraction can induce partial DC activation, a situation that can be relevant in tolerance induction. It is important to state that the organic fraction by itself does not show any immunomodulatory activity. This study provides evidence for possible immunomodulatory activity of P. alliacea extracts which has been used in traditional medicine in Colombia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • DNA Primers
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Phytolaccaceae / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Water / chemistry


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Cytokines
  • DNA Primers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Water