Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Older mice fed wolfberries show reduced risk for flu virus with vaccine

12.12.2013
In a study of older mice, wolfberries appear to interact with the influenza vaccine to offer additional protection against the flu virus.

The research, led by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University, suggests the wolfberry may increase the activity of dendritic cells, which play an important role in the ability of the immune system to defend against viral infections. The results were published online ahead of print today by the Journal of Nutrition.

Older mice, with immune systems weakened by age, were placed on diets that included a small amount of a milk preparation of wolfberry fruit, also known as goji berries. Over a period of several weeks, they received two flu vaccines before being infected with the flu virus and monitored for signs of symptoms. The researchers then tested for specific influenza antibodies as well as the clinical symptoms of the disease such as weight loss among the mice.

"We observed higher antibody response and better protection against flu as indicated by less weight loss in the older mice that consumed wolfberries," said senior author Simin Nikbin Meydani, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the USDA HNRCA at Tufts University and director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA. "While previous studies have shown that wolfberries bolster immune response in mice, our results introduce their potential to reduce the age-related risk and severity of the flu virus in the presence of the vaccine."

Meydani and colleagues isolated dendritic cells, which are known to activate infection-fighting T-cells. The cells were treated with a wolfberry concentrate and incubated for one week. During that time, the researchers observed that the maturity and inflammatory activity of the dendritic cells had increased, which suggests an improved immune response.

"Although we have taken a step toward understanding the mechanism behind the wolfberry's interaction with the flu vaccine, it remains unclear which components of wolfberries may be responsible for the effects observed in this study," said co-corresponding author Dayong Wu, M.D., Ph.D., a senior scientist in the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory and an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

"Wolfberries are rich in complex carbohydrates known as polysaccharides, as well as vitamins, carotenoids and flavonoids. Future studies in rodent models would be necessary to understand which components appear to be stimulating the dendritic cells."

Further research is also needed to determine whether wolfberries could have a similar effect in older humans who receive the flu vaccine. "People's immune systems inevitably weaken with age, making them less responsive to the vaccine and more susceptible to the flu and its potentially serious complications," said Meydani, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and a member of the immunology program faculty at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, both at Tufts University.

"While flu vaccination is recommended for older people, the vaccine is only 40% effective in protecting older adults against flu infection, which is much lower than that afforded to younger people. For those reasons, it is important to investigate complimentary approaches that may enhance the effectiveness of vaccination."

This research was funded under an agreement with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, contract #58-1950-0-014.

The milk preparation of wolfberry fruit was provided by Nestec S.A. Although Drs. Meydani and Wu have received funding from Nestec S.A., it was not used to support this research.

Additional authors of this study are Donald E. Smith, Ph.D., scientist and manager in the Comparative Biology Unit at the USDA HNRCA and Xiogang Du, Ph.D., a former postdoctoral associate; Junpeng Wang, D.V.M., Ph.D., a scientist; Xinli Niu, M.S., a former research assistant, all in the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA.

Du, X; Wang, J; Niu, X; Smith, D; Wu, D; and Meydani, SN. "Dietary wolfberry supplementation enhances protective effect of flu vaccine against influenza challenge in aged mice." Journal of Nutrition. doi:

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in the United States. The school's eight degree programs, which focus on questions relating to famine, hunger, poverty, and communications, are renowned for the application of scientific research to national and international policy. For three decades, the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has studied the relationship between good nutrition and good health in aging populations. Tufts research scientists work with federal agencies to establish the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Dietary Reference Intakes, and other significant public policies.

Andrea Grossman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Nanoparticle versus cancer
21.07.2016 | Lomonosov Moscow State University

nachricht Titanium + gold = new gold standard for artificial joints
21.07.2016 | Rice University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

Im Focus: A Peek into the “Birthing Room” of Ribosomes

Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis

A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein...

Im Focus: New protocol enables analysis of metabolic products from fixed tissues

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a new mass spectrometry imaging method which, for the first time, makes it possible to analyze hundreds of metabolites in fixed tissue samples. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Protocols, explain the new access to metabolic information, which will offer previously unexploited potential for tissue-based research and molecular diagnostics.

In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in...

Im Focus: Computer Simulation Renders Transient Chemical Structures Visible

Chemists at the University of Basel have succeeded in using computer simulations to elucidate transient structures in proteins. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers set out how computer simulations of details at the atomic level can be used to understand proteins’ modes of action.

Using computational chemistry, it is possible to characterize the motion of individual atoms of a molecule. Today, the latest simulation techniques allow...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Hey robot, shimmy like a centipede

22.07.2016 | Information Technology

New record in materials research: 1 terapascals in a laboratory

22.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

University of Graz researchers challenge 140-year-old paradigm of lichen symbiosis

22.07.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>