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Cell Immunol. 2012 Nov;280(1):92-100. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2012.11.014. Epub 2012 Dec 10.

Boosting of nonspecific host response by aromatic spices turmeric and ginger in immunocompromised mice.

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Department of Biotechnology, Assam University, Assam, India.


The present investigation was intended to study the immunostimulant properties of Curcuma longa (turmeric) and Zingiber officinale (ginger) rhizomes on splenic macrophages in carbon tetrachloride intoxicated male albino mice. The study was based on functional parameters like morphology, cell adhesion, phagocytosis, myeloperoxidase release, nitric oxide release and intracellular killing capacity of splenic macrophages. To elucidate the detailed mechanism of boosting of these cell functions, serum levels of TNF-α, and IFN-γ were quantified in different experimental mice groups. Carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) intoxication (0.5ml/kg body weight intraperitoneally) was found to affect the functional status of splenic macrophages as evident from these studies. Moreover, CCl(4) intoxicated mice also showed lower levels of cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ. However, oral administration (singly) of polar fractions of C. longa (50mg/kg b.wt) and Z. officinale (120mg/kg b.wt) rhizomes ameliorated the affects of CCl(4), as evident from an increased functional status as well as the serum levels of these cytokines. Based on this study it can be suggested that, polar fractions of C. longa and Z. officinale rhizomes boost the immune system by altering the cytokine milieu of the immunosuppressed macrophages, thus modulating their functional status. Therefore, it can be inferred that dietary intake of C. longa and Z. officinale potentiates the non-specific host defenses against opportunistic infections.

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