Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is an immunostimulatory nutritional supplement. AHCC effects and mechanism of action on intestinal epithelial cells or monocytes are poorly described. AHCC was added to the culture medium of intestinal epithelial cells (IEC18 and HT29 cells) and monocytes (THP-1 cells) and assessed the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines by ELISA. Inhibitors of NFκB and MAPKs were used to study signal transduction pathways while TLR4 and MyD88 were silenced in IEC18 cells using shRNA. It was found that AHCC induced GROα and MCP1 secretion in IEC18 and IL-8 in HT29 cells. These effects depended on NFκB activation, and partly on MAPKs activation and on the presence of MyD88 and TLR4. In THP-1 cells AHCC evoked IL-8, IL-1β and TNF-α secretion. The induction of IL-8 depended on JNK and NFκB activation. Therefore, AHCC exerts immunostimulatory effects on intestinal epithelial cells and monocytes involving TLR4/MyD88 and NFκB/MAPK signal transduction pathways.
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