According to the World Health Organization in 2013, 235 million people are afflicted with asthma. Asthma is a severe pulmonary disease that can be caused by the imbalance of T-helper (Th) type 1 (Th1) and type 2 (Th2) cells, and it is potentially fatal. In this study, we evaluated the anti-asthmatic effect of alginate oligosaccharide (AO), which was prepared from seaweed and converted by Bacillus subtilis KCTC 11782BP, in the mouse model of ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma. BALB/c mice were divided into the vehicle control (sensitized but not challenged), asthma induction, positive control (1 mg/kg dexamethasone), 50 mg/kg/day AO-treated, 200 mg/kg/day AO-treated, and 400 mg/kg/day AO-treated groups. The numbers or levels of inflammatory cells, eosinophils, and immunoglobulin (Ig) E were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and asthma-related morphological and cytokine changes were analyzed in lung tissues. Our results show that AO dramatically reduced inflammatory cell numbers, eosinophil count, and IgE levels in BALF, and it dose-dependently inhibited asthmatic histopathological changes in the lung. In addition, AO dose-dependently suppressed the expression of CD3+ T-cell co-receptors, CD4+ Th cells, CD8+ cytotoxic T-cell-related factors, macrophages, and MHCII class. AO dosedependently decreased the expression levels of Th1/2 cells-regulatory transcription factors such as GATA-3 which modulates Th2 cell proliferation and T-bet which does Th1 cell proliferation. The mRNA levels of all Th1/2-related cytokines, except IL-12α, were dosedependently suppressed by AO treatment. In particular, the mRNA levels of IL-5, IL-6, and IL-13 were significantly inhibited by AO treatment. Our findings suggest that AO has the potential to be an anti-asthmatic drug candidate, due to its modulation of Th1/Th2 cytokines, which contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma.
Bang, M. A., Seo, J. H., Seo, J. W., Jo, G. H., Jung, S. K., Yu, R., … Park, S. J. (2015). Bacillus subtilis KCTC 11782BP-produced alginate oligosaccharide effectively suppresses asthma via T-helper cell type 2-related cytokines. PLoS ONE, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117524