Immune Defense and Cell Migration


The migration of immune cells between blood and various tissues is an important part of constant immune surveillance, as well as a targeted immune defense reaction.  The evaluation of immune cell migration after consuming a natural product can be evaluated in clinical studies using an acute study design.  The evaluation of immune surveillance versus a targeted migration towards an inflammatory stimulus can be evaluated in laboratory tests.

Immune Surveillance, Anti-bacterial, and Anti-inflammatory Effects: Laboratory Testing

This testing involves evaluation of whether a natural product has a differential effect on migration of the polymorphonuclear (PMN) cell.

The PMN cell is a highly active and migratory cell type. The migratory behavior of this cell type is divided into at least two types:

  1. Random migration as part of normal immune surveillance
  2. Directed migration towards specific chemoattractants.

We have established a migration test in which both types of migration are tested in parallel. Furthermore, the directed migration is tested towards distinctly different chemotactic compounds, pertaining to either antibacterial/anti-inflammatory or anti-allergic responses.

Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory panel:

  1. Bacterial peptide f-Met-Leu-Phe;
  2. The inflammatory cytokine Interleukin-8 (IL-8);
  3. The inflammatory chemoattractant Leukotriene B4 (LTB4).

We have found interesting evidence, during evaluation of several natural products, that some natural products may specifically reduce directed PMN migration towards inflammatory mediators IL-8 and LTB4 while supporting PMN migration towards bacterial peptide as part of the normal anti-bacterial immune defense.

Anti-allergic response panel:

  1. Histamine;
  2. Prostaglandin D2;
  3. Epithelial Neutrophil Activating factor 78 (ENA-78).

We have found interesting evidence, during evaluation of several natural products, that some test products may specifically reduce directed PMN migration towards allergic responses, while supporting PMN random migration as part of normal immune surveillance.

The testing of migration towards several inflammatory chemoattractants may help identify selective responses in this in vitro system, which to some extent mimics in vivo models of inflammation, such as rat paw edema. The assay allows a distinction between antibacterial immune defense mechanisms versus responses to inflammation.