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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2016 Mar;68(3):406-20. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12529. Epub 2016 Feb 21.

Red ginseng and vitamin C increase immune cell activity and decrease lung inflammation induced by influenza A virus/H1N1 infection.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Vitamin C and Antioxidant Immunology, Department of Anatomy, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2
Institute of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea.
3
Department of Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Because red ginseng and vitamin C have immunomodulatory function and anti-viral effect, we investigated whether red ginseng and vitamin C synergistically regulate immune cell function and suppress viral infection.

METHODS:

Red ginseng and vitamin C were treated to human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) or sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)-infected BCBL-1, and administrated to Gulo(-/-) mice, which are incapable of synthesizing vitamin C, with or without influenza A virus/H1N1 infection.

KEY FINDINGS:

Red ginseng and vitamin C increased the expression of CD25 and CD69 of PBMCs and natural killer (NK) cells. Co-treatment of them decreased cell viability and lytic gene expression in BCBL-1. In Gulo(-/-) mice, red ginseng and vitamin C increased the expression of NKp46, a natural cytotoxic receptor of NK cells and interferon (IFN)-γ production. Influenza infection decreased the survival rate, and increased inflammation and viral plaque accumulation in the lungs of vitamin C-depleted Gulo(-/-) mice, which were remarkably reduced by red ginseng and vitamin C supplementation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Administration of red ginseng and vitamin C enhanced the activation of immune cells like T and NK cells, and repressed the progress of viral lytic cycle. It also reduced lung inflammation caused by viral infection, which consequently increased the survival rate.

KEYWORDS:

H1N1; influenza A virus; red ginseng; vitamin C

PMID:
26898166
DOI:
10.1111/jphp.12529
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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