Effects of coffee intake on airway hypersensitivity and immunomodulation: an in vivo murine study

Ying Chi Wong, Wen Cheng Hsu, Tzee Chung Wu, Ching Feng Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Coffee is a complex chemical mixture, with caffeine being the most well-known bioactive substance. The immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee and caffeine impact health in various aspects, including the respiratory system. The objective is to investigate the effects of coffee and caffeine on airway hyperresponsiveness and allergic reactions, as well as to analyze and compare associated cytokine profiles. MATERIALS/METHODS: BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally sensitized with ovalbumin (OVA) and given OVA inhalation to induce airway hypersensitivity. Two weeks after sensitization, they were intragastrically gavaged with coffee or caffeine, both containing 0.3125 mg caffeine, daily for 4 weeks. Control mice were fed with double-distilled water. Serum OVA-specific antibody levels were measured beforehand and 5 weeks after the first gavage. Airway hyperresponsiveness was detected by whole body plethysmography after gavage. Cytokine levels of bronchoalveolar lavage and cultured splenocytes were analyzed. RESULTS: Coffee effectively suppressed T helper 2-mediated specific antibody response. Airway responsiveness was reduced in mice treated with either coffee or caffeine. Compared to the control, coffee significantly reduced OVA-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) G, IgG1 and IgE antibody responses (P < 0.05). Caffeine also attenuated specific IgG and IgG1 levels, though IgE level was unaffected. Coffee significantly reduced interleukin (IL)-4 and increased IL-10 concentration in spleen cells and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Coffee effectively attenuated airway hyperresponsiveness and systemic allergic responses induced by OVA food allergen in mice. As a complex composition of bioactive substances, coffee displayed enhanced immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects than caffeine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-640
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition Research and Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Asthma
  • bronchoalveolar lavage fluid
  • caffeine
  • coffee
  • respiratory hypersensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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