A cold-induced stress mouse model for investigating chlamydia genital infection and immune response analysis was established in our laboratory. Previous results showed that cold-induced stress results in suppression of the immune response and increased intensity of chlamydia genital infection in the mouse model. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the potential therapeutic value of active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) against chlamydia genital infection in mice. AHCC is an extract of mushroom commonly used as a dietary supplement is known to boost the immune system. Mice were infected intravaginally with Chlamydia trachomatis after a 24-day cold-stress application. Oral administration of AHCC to stressed or non-stressed mice was carried out seven days before infection and during the course of infection along with cervicovaginal swabbing. Cytokine production by peritoneal and splenic T cells isolated from AHCC-fed stressed mice and non-stressed mice was measured ELISA. Splenic T cells from both animal groups were co-cultured with mouse monocyte J774.2 cell line or cultured by addition of supernatants of AHCC-treated J774.2 cell line for 24 hours. Infection studies showed that AHCC-feeding compared to phosphate buffered saline (PBS)-feeding to stressed mice resulted in reduced Chlamydia trachomatis shedding from the genital tract. Levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) were significantly increased in stressed mice receiving AHCC compared to stressed mice receiving PBS. Production of interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and interleukin 2 (IL-2) in the AHCC group was significantly high compared to production in PBS-fed group. Splenic T cells from stressed and non-stressed cultured with supernatants of AHCC-treated J774.2 cell line resulted in significantly increased TNF-α or IFN-γ production. Results obtained in this study show that AHCC improves the function of immune cells as indicated by the restoration of levels of cytokines production that were suppressed under cold induced-stress conditions. This is the first report showing that oral administration of AHCC enhances the function of the immune system, which could result in increased resistance of the host to chlamydia genital infection.
Keywords: Chlamydia; Cold-induced stress; active hexose correlated compound.