A novel phycobiliprotein alleviates allergic airway inflammation by modulating immune responses

Chun Jung Chang, Yao Hsu Yang, Yu Chih Liang, Chiao Juno Chiu, Kuan Hua Chu, Hung Non Chou, Bor Luen Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: It has been claimed that phycocyanin exhibits pharmaceutical functions in inhibiting histamine release and leukotriene biosynthesis. In allergic asthma, these inflammatory mediators are crucial for disease progression. Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic potential of R-phycocyanin (R-PC) against allergic airway inflammation. Methods: Mousebone marrow - derived dendritic cells (BMDCs)were used to evaluate the immunomodulatory functions of R-PC. In addition, an airway inflammatory model was used to evaluate the therapeutic potential of R-PC. Measurements and Main Results: R-PC treatment resulted in a decrease of endocytosis, increase of costimulatory molecule expression, and enhancement of interleukin-12 production in mouse BMDCs. Moreover, R-PC - treated cultured dendritic cells were able to promote CD4+ T-cell stimulatory capacity and increase interferon-γ expression in CD4+ T cells. Intraperitoneal administration of R-PC suppressed ovalbumin (OVA)-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, serum levels of OVA-specific IgE and IgG1, eosinophil infiltration, Th2 cytokine levels, and eotaxin in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of mice. Antibody against Toll-like receptor-4 was able to inhibit R-PC - induced IL-12 p70 production. Moreover, inhibition of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) by helenalin and inhibition of the JNK pathway by JNK inhibitor II inhibited R-PC - induced IL-12 p70 production. Western blotting and electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that R-PC augmented phosphorylation of the inhibitors of NF-κB and inhibitors of NF-κB kinase and facilitated NF-κB activity. Conclusions: Our data demonstrated that R-PC promoted activation and maturation of cultured dendritic cells and skewed the immunological function toward Th1 activity. Therefore, R-PC may have potential in regulating immune responses and application in reducing allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Allergic asthma
  • Immunomodulation
  • R-phycocyanin
  • Th1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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