Effects of the Subaleurone Layer of Rice on Macrophage Activation and Protection of Pollen Allergy in a Murine Model

Anticancer Res. 2015 Aug;35(8):4467-72.


Background/aim: Oral intake of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has been demonstrated to be effective in the prevention of various diseases. We have found that the subaleurone layer of rice contains a large amount of LPS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of this layer in innate immunity.

Materials and methods: Using the Saika-style rice polishing process, a sbaleurone layer and the rice retaining a subaleurone layer and polished white rice were prepared from brown rice. Using hot-water extracts from rice, LPS content was measured by the Limulus reaction and the effect of activation of macrophages was evaluated on the basis of their phagocytic activity and nitric monoxide (NO) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production levels. Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2-, TLR-4- and TLR-9-transfected human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells were used to identify the activation pathway. An allergy mouse model was used to evaluate the prevention of pollen allergy.

Results: When compared to polished white rice, rice retaining a subaleurone layer had a 6-fold increase in LPS and an increased macrophage activation when phagocytic activity and NO and TNF production were used as indices. TRL4 was the major pathway for such activation. Anti-allergy test by oral intake of subaleurone showed a significant preventive effect for pollen allergy.

Conclusion: Compared to polished white rice, rice retaining a subaleurone layer contained a high level of LPS with higher macrophage activation. Furthermore, oral administration of the rice demonstrated a preventive effect for pollen allergy, thus indicating its utility as a functional food that has a regulatory effect on innate immunity.

Keywords: Lipopolysaccharide; anti-allergy; innate immunity; macrophage; rice retaining subaleurone layer.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Lipopolysaccharides / administration & dosage*
  • Macrophage Activation / immunology*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Oryza / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / drug therapy
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / prevention & control*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Plant Preparations
  • Tlr4 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nitric Oxide