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Title: Immunostimulatory effects of oriental plum (Prunus salicina Lindl)

item Lillehoj, Hyun

Submitted to: Comparative Immunology Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2008
Publication Date: 9/2/2009
Citation: Lee, S., Lillehoj, H.S., Cho, S., Chun, H., Park, H., Lim, C., Lillehoj, E.P. 2009. Immunostimulatory effects of oriental plum (Prunus salicina Lindl). Comparative Immunology Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 32(5):407-17.

Interpretive Summary: Recent concerns about the use of drugs in agricultural poultry industry prompted to explore alternative and safe control strategies against poultry pathogen control. One of the methods that is being explored is using natural plant products to enhance natural immunity of poultry. In this paper, ARS scientists, in collaboration with scientists in Korea, Rural Development Administration, and University of Maryland, evaluated the immunomodulatory effects f plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) cultivated and propagated in Korea. Plum has high fiber, sorbitol, and phenolic contents and its phenolic compounds has shown to be a preventive agent against chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Therefore, the current investigation was undertaken by choosing the general methods used to examine stimulation of the chicken immune system to verify the potential immunoenhancing properties of plum. The results clearly demonstrated strong immunostimulatory effects of plum extract, especially enhance innate immunity of poultry. These results will be valuable to scientists in poultry science fields at academia and industry and will facilitate the development of new strategy using dietary plant products to enhance immunity of poultry and to reduce economic loss due to diseases.

Technical Abstract: The fruit of the plum tree (Prunus salicina Lindl.) has been used as a traditional medicinal food in humans to enhance immunity against infectious agents and to treat cancers. However, limited information exists on the mechanisms responsible for its immune enhancing properties. In this study, the immunostimulatory effects of a methanol extract of plum fruit following methanol evaporation and dissolving in PBS were assessed by in vitro lymphocyte proliferation, tumor cell cytotoxicity, and nitric oxide (NO) production. The crude methanol extract stimulated spleen lymphocyte proliferation and NO production by cultured macrophages, and inhibited the viability of tumor cells, significantly greater than media controls. Sequential gel filtration chromatographic separation of the extract on Sephadex G-25 and Sephacryl S-200 gel filtration columns resulted in a more purified preparation that retained the ability to induce lymphoproliferation, tumor killing, and NO production. These results demonstrate for the first time that plum contains immunostimulatory and anti-tumor components that potentially may be useful in human and veterinary medicine.