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Immunomodulatory And Cellular Anti-oxidant Activities Of Caffeic, Ferulic, And P-coumaric Phenolic Acids: A Structure–activity Relationship Study

Soumaya Kilani-Jaziri, Imèn Mokdad-Bzéouich, M. Krifa, Nouha Nasr, K. Ghédira, L. Chekir‐Ghedira
Published 2017 · Biology, Medicine

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Abstract Many studies have been performed to assess the potential utility of natural products as immunomodulatory agents to enhance host responses and to reduce damage to the human body. To determine whether phenolic compounds (caffeic, ferulic, and p-coumaric acids) have immunomodulatory effects and clarify which types of immune effector cells are stimulated in vitro, we evaluated their effect on splenocyte proliferation and lysosomal enzyme activity. We also investigated the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). In addition, induction of the cellular antioxidant activity in splenocytes, macrophages, and red blood cells was determined by measuring the fluorescence of the DCF product. The study first results indicated that caffeic, ferulic, and p-coumaric acids significantly promote LPS-stimulated splenocyte proliferation, suggesting a potential activation of B cells, and enhanced humoral immune response in hosts treated by the tested natural products. Phenolic acids significantly enhanced the killing activity of isolated NK and CTL cells but had negligible effects on mitogen-induced proliferation of splenic T cells. We showed that caffeic acid enhances lysosomal enzyme activity in murine peritoneal macrophages, suggesting a potential role in activating such cells. Immunomodulatory activity was concomitant with the cellular antioxidant effect in macrophages and splenocytes of caffeic and ferulic acids. We conclude from this study that caffeic, ferulic, and p-coumaric acids exhibited an immunomodulatory effect which could be ascribed, in part, to their cytoprotective effect via their antioxidant capacity. Furthermore, these results suggest that these natural products could be potentially used to modulate immune cell functions in physiological and pathological conditions.
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