CY Ho, CB Lau, CF Kim, KN Leung, KP Fung, TF Tse, HH Chan, MS Chow.
School of Pharmacy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China.
Being one of the commonly used Chinese medicinal herbs, Coriolus versicolor (CV), also named as Yunzhi, was known to possess both anti-tumor and immunopotentiating activities. The present study aimed to investigate the in vitro immunomodulatory effect of a standardized ethanol-water extract prepared from CV on the proliferation of murine splenic lymphocytes using the MTT assay, and the production of six T helper (Th)-related cytokines using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. The results showed that the CV extract significantly augmented the proliferation of murine splenic lymphocytes in a time- and dose-dependent manner, maximally by 2.4-fold. Moreover, the production of two Th1-related cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-12, in culture supernatants from the CV extract-activated lymphocytes was prominently upregulated at 48 and 72 h. Positive correlations were found between the levels of these two cytokines and the MTT-based proliferative response. In contrast, the production of two other Th1-related cytokines, including interferon (IFN)-gamma and IL-18, was significantly augmented only at 24 h, but not at 48 and 72 h. On the other hand, the levels of two Th2-related cytokines such as IL-4 and IL-6 were undetectable in the culture supernatants of lymphocytes treated with the CV extract. The CV extract was suggested to be a lymphocyte mitogen by differentially enhancing the production of Th1-related cytokines.