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Immunostimulatory effect of kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia) and its constituents, β-cryptoxanthin and R-limonene

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Abstract

Natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in the innate immune system by eliminating cancer cells and virally infected cells. Aging and stress attenuate the activity of NK cells, thereby increasing the risk of various diseases. In this study, we demonstrated that the consumption of a small number of kumquats in an in vivo model could suppress elevated plasma corticosterone levels and reverse the decline in splenocyte cytotoxicity caused by restraint stress. Our results identified β-cryptoxanthin (BCX) as an active kumquat component with a NK cell-activating effect, and R-limonene as an active component that mediates not only the anti-stress effect but also NK cell activation by oral administration. In addition, BCX, R-limonene, and R-limonene metabolites were found to enhance IFN-γ production in KHYG-1 cells, a human NK cell line. Collectively, our findings suggest that the ingestion of a few kumquats on a daily basis can help to combat stress and enhance NK cell activity.

Graphical abstract: Immunostimulatory effect of kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia) and its constituents, β-cryptoxanthin and R-limonene

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Oct 2018, accepted on 22 Nov 2018 and first published on 23 Nov 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8FO01971A
Citation: Food Funct., 2019, Advance Article
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    Immunostimulatory effect of kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia) and its constituents, β-cryptoxanthin and R-limonene

    R. Terao, A. Murata, K. Sugamoto, T. Watanabe, K. Nagahama, K. Nakahara, T. Kondo, N. Murakami, K. Fukui, H. Hattori and N. Eto, Food Funct., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8FO01971A

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