Immunomodulatory effects of Pseudostellaria heterophylla peptide on spleen lymphocytes via a Ca2+/CaN/NFATc1/IFN-γ pathway†
Pseudostellaria heterophylla has been becoming a popular research topic because of its functionally active components. The immunomodulatory activity of P. heterophylla peptide (PPH) derived from protein hydrolysate and the molecular mechanism underlying its immunomodulatory effect were investigated in this study. Immunomodulatory PPH achieved the highest stimulation index of 1.53 at a concentration of 100 μg mL−1 for 48 h in spleen lymphocytes and promoted the secretions of tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ, and interleukin-10. Moreover, PPH could elevate the intracellular Ca2+ concentration, calcineurin activity and nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT) c1 mRNA expression. Meanwhile these effects could be diminished by the treatment of verapamil and cyclosporin A, suggesting that PPH may activate spleen lymphocytes via the Ca2+/CaN/NFATc1/IFN-γ signaling pathway. These findings demonstrate that the P. heterophylla peptide has the potential to be utilized as a nutraceutical supplement to strengthen the immune system in the human body.