World’s First Discovery of Scallop-derived Plasmalogens Enhancing Antiviral Action

World’s First Discovery of Scallop-derived Plasmalogens Enhancing Antiviral Action

World’s First Discovery of Scallop-derived Plasmalogens Enhancing Antiviral Action

FUKUOKA, Japan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Japanese Plasmalogen Society (Office: Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, Japan; President: Yutaka Oomura) announced the research results that scallop-derived plasmalogens enhanced antiviral action through the activation of natural killer (NK) cells.

The immune system is divided into two types: innate immunity and acquired immunity. The former is a primitive system of defense to immediately protect the body against foreign invaders, and serves an essential role especially in preventing disease. NK cells are a vital component of the immune system as a front-line defense against cancer or virus infection.

Plasmalogens, a class of phospholipids, are abundant in brain, heart, skeletal muscle and immune cells. They can be extracted from various animals including scallops, chickens and sea squirts. Of particular note is that scallop-derived plasmalogens abundantly contain DHA-rich plasmalogens, thereby enhancing the functionality of the immune system.

The research team led by Dr. Takehiko Fujino, Professor emeritus of Kyushu University, discovered the mechanism by which scallop-derived plasmalogens strengthen the killing ability of virus-infected cells and cancer through the activation of NK cells.

Key findings are as follows:

  1. Scallop-derived plasmalogens inhibited the growth of viruses and tumors in mice.
  2. Scallop-derived plasmalogens enhanced the cancer-killing ability by activating their receptors on NK cells (GPCR21).
  3. Scallop-derived plasmalogens promoted Perforin-1 release (a pore-forming cytotoxic protein) from NK cells to kill virus-infected cells.

The same results were obtained in human blood immune cells as in mice, indicating that those with lower levels of blood plasmalogens had lower expression of GPCR21 in blood cells. This means that decreased activity of NK cells makes them more susceptible to cancer and virus infection. Meanwhile, the expression of GPCR21 was highly enhanced in human blood cells including NK cells by adding plasmalogens, which indicates that NK cells became active and more resistant to virus infection and cancer.

These results have shown that scallop-derived plasmalogens enhance antiviral action by activating NK cells, resulting in building up resistance to virus infection and cancer. This suggests that scallop-derived plasmalogens could be a candidate for antiviral or anticancer agents.

The findings were published in The Journal of Immunology, a time-honored, peer-reviewed medical journal (Impact Factor 5.422).

Article Title:Plasmalogen-mediated activation of GPCR21 regulates cytolytic activity of NK cells against the target cells

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Naoe Hiraishi

The Japanese Plasmalogen Society
+81 92 273 2411