Th1-cytokine induction and anti-tumor effect of 55 kDa protein isolated from Aeginetia indica L., a parasitic plant.
We have isolated a 55 kDa protein from the seed extract of Aeginetia indica L. (AIL), a parasitic plant, by affinity chromatography on an N-hydroxysuccinimide-activated Sepharose High Performance column bound with F3, a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the cytokine-inducing and anti-tumor effect of AIL. In the present study, we examined this protein (AILb-A) for cytokine induction and anti-tumor effects by animal study, using syngeneic Meth-A tumor-bearing BALB/c mice, in which the Th2 response is genetically dominant. AILb-A administration resulted in markedly increased levels of Th1 cytokines [interferon (IFN)-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12 and IL-18] in the sera derived from Meth-A-bearing mice. The in vitro re-stimulation with AILb-A of splenocytes derived from AILb-A-primed mice also selectively induced Th1-type cytokines and antigen-specific killer cell activity. The neutralizing test using cytokine-specific antibodies revealed that AILb-A-induced IL-18 plays a most significant role for and killer cell-inducing activities. Furthermore, IL-12 and IL-18 induced by AILb-A inhibited specifically IL-10 and IL-4 production, respectively. Finally, we examined the anti-tumor effect of AILb-A in both Meth-A-bearing BALB/c mice and Meth-A-bearing nude mice with BALB/c background. AILb-A exhibited a striking anti-tumor effect in normal BALB/c mice inoculated with Meth-A cells. In athymic nude mice, the anti-tumor effect of AILb-A was relatively weak. These findings strongly suggested that AILb-A is a potent Th1 inducer and may be a useful immunotherapeutic agent for patients with malignant diseases.