Immunomodulatory effect of natural and modified Citrus pectin on cytokine levels in the spleen of BALB/c mice

Int J Biol Macromol. 2019 Jan;121:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.09.189. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Pectin is present in the cell wall of different vegetables and fruits. Beside its importance in the plant cell wall, pectin has enticed great attention for its beneficial effects on human health. It was shown to decrease cholesterol levels, to possess anti-oxidative, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. The immunomodulatory activity of pectin and its mechanism of action is recently being investigated. In this study, the differential immunomodulatory activities of both CP (citrus pectin) and MCP (modified citrus pectin) were investigated. Females BALB/c mice (20-25 g) were randomly divided into 7 groups and different concentrations of CP and MCP (0%, 1.5%, 3% and 5%) were added to their drinking water for 21 days. Then, the splenic level of IL-1β, IL-4, IL-10, IL-17, IFN-γ and TNF-α were evaluated using ELISA. Both CP and MCP exhibited immunomodulatory activities by increasing the levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-17, IFN-γ and TNF-α levels. This tendency seems to be regulated by the up-regulation of IL-4 levels but with no major effect on those of IL-10. Therefore, CP and especially MCP have potential immunomodulatory effects which might be highly beneficial in immunotherapy.

Keywords: Citrus pectin; Cytokines; Immunomodulatory; Modified citrus pectin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Immunologic Factors / chemistry*
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Weight
  • Pectins / chemistry*
  • Pectins / pharmacology*
  • Spleen / drug effects*
  • Spleen / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • citrus pectin
  • Pectins