Spirulina lipopolysaccharides inhibit tumor growth in a Toll-like receptor 4-dependent manner by altering the cytokine milieu from interleukin-17/interleukin-23 to interferon-γ
- Hiromi Okuyama
- Akira Tominaga
- Satoshi Fukuoka
- Takahiro Taguchi
- Yutaka Kusumoto
- Shiro Ono
Published online on: Monday, January 2, 2017
Copyright: © Okuyama et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Th17 cells and the cytokine they produce, interleukin (IL)-17, play an important role in tumor progression in humans and in mice. IL-6 and IL-23 are critical cytokines for the differentiation and propagation of Th17 cells, respectively. Bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are known to stimulate immune cells to produce such inflammatory cytokines. Contrary to Escherichia coli (E. coli) LPS, LPS from Spirulina has low toxicity and barely induces in vivo production of IL-6 and IL-23 in mice. We examined the antitumor effects of Spirulina LPS compared to E. coli LPS in an MH134 hepatoma model. Administration of Spirulina LPS suppressed tumor growth in C3H/HeN mice, but not in Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-mutant C3H/HeJ mice, by reducing serum levels of IL-17 and IL-23, while increasing interferon (IFN)-γ levels. The antitumor activity and IFN-γ production were mediated by T cells. Moreover, in vitro experiments showed that Spirulina LPS impaired the antigen-presenting function that supports the generation of IL-17-producing cells in a toll-like receptor (TLR)4-dependent manner. Of note, injection of anti-IL-17 antibody in tumor-bearing C3H/HeN mice in the absence of Spirulina LPS markedly suppressed tumor growth and augmented IFN-γ responses. Thus, our results support the notion that IFN-γ and IL-17/IL-23 mutually regulate Th17 and Th1 responses in tumor-bearing hosts, and Spirulina LPS modulates the balance of the IFN-γ-IL-17/IL-23 axis towards IFN-γ production, which leads to tumor inhibition. Furthermore, Spirulina LPS effectively inhibited the spontaneous development of mammary tumors. This study has important implications for the exploitation of TLR-based immunomodulators for cancer immunotherapy.