Immunomodulatory activity

Immunomodulation refers to the action undertaken by the medication on auto-regulating processes that steer the immunological defense system. Many polysaccharides obtained from natural sources are considered to be biological response modifiers and have been shown to enhance various immune responses (Li et al., 2008). Previous studies have shown that brown algal fucoidans have immunological effects both in vitro and in vivo. Figure 12.4 shows the possible immunomodulatory effects of brown algal fucoidan by activated splenocytes via JNK, NF-kB, and NFAT signal pathways.

Kim and Joo (2008) reported the immunomodulatory effects of fucoi-dan purified from brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus on dendritic cells. Further, they suggested that the fucoidan has immunostimulating and maturing effects on bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, via a pathway involving at least NF-kB. In another recent study, Choi et al. (2005) investigated the immunomodulating effects of arabinogalactan and

Sulfated polysaccharide —Fucose and sulfate group

Sulfated polysaccharide —Fucose and sulfate group

NFAT

Cell proliferation & differentiation

NFAT

mjsr kBa

Cell proliferation & differentiation

NFkB

Transcription factor

FIGURE 12.4 Possible immunomodulatory effects of brown algal fucoidan by activated splenocytes via JNK, NF-kB, and NFAT signal pathways.

fucoidan in vitro. Their data suggest that arabinogalactan and fucoidan are activators of lymphocytes and macrophages. This property may contribute to their effectiveness in the immunoprevention of cancer. Yang et al. (2008) reported the effects of fucoidan on maturation process and activation of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells. Their results suggest that dendritic cells appear to be a potential target for the immuno-modulatory capacity of fucoidan. Therefore, fucoidan may be used on dendritic cells-based vaccines for cancer immunotherapy.

Effect of fucoidan on NO production induced by IFN-g and the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects in two types of cells including glia (C6, BV-2) and macrophages (RAW264.7, peritoneal primary cells) were reported (Do et al., 2010). According to the results, they have reported that the effects of fucoidan on iNOS expression through IFN-g-mediated signaling between two cell types can suggest the possibility not only as a promising candidate for treating inflammatory-related neuronal injuries but also as a immune modulating nutrient for altering sensitivity of cells.

Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) is a secreted multidomain enzyme, which plays an important role in the migration of immune cells. In a recent study, it is reported that fucoidan posttranslationally regulated MMP-9 secretion from U937 (Jintang et al., 2010). Fucoidan isolated from U. pinnatifida possesses immunomodulating activity to produce cytokines and chemokines from macrophages and splenocytes (Yoo et al., 2007).

Besides having direct anticancer or antiproliferative properties, fucoi-dans can also suppress the development of tumor cells through enhancing body's immunomodulatory activity.

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