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Open Access Open Badges Research article

In vitro modulation of inflammatory cytokine and IgG levels by extracts of Perna canaliculus

Sachin Mani* and John W Lawson

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, Clemson University Clemson, SC 29634, USA

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2006, 6:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-1

Published: 13 January 2006



Inflammation is a predominant characteristic of autoimmune diseases which is characterized by the increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Soon to be published work from our laboratory has shown that ingestion of Perna canaliculus prevents the development of autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis in laboratory animals. The current paper attempts to illustrate how Perna can alleviate inflammation by modulating inflammatory cytokines, cyclooxygenase enzymes and Immunoglobulin-G (IgG) levels.


In the present study, hydrochloric acid [HCl] and Tween-20 were used to develop extracts of Perna. These extracts were assayed for protein content. Increasing concentrations of these extracts were then tested in cell culture for modulation of inflammatory cytokine, cyclooxygenase enzymes and IgG levels. Parallel tests were run using an available glycogen extract of Perna as a comparison to our in-house laboratory preparations.


Tween-20 Perna extracts were found to be more stable and less toxic in cell culture than HCl digest of Perna. They also assayed higher in protein content that HCl extracts. Although both extracts inhibited IgG production in V2E9 hybridomas, Tween-20 extracts were more consistent in IgG suppression than HCl extracts. Overall Tween-20 extracts effectively decreased levels of TNF-α, IL-1, IL-2 and IL-6 as observed using cytokine bioassays. Twenty micrograms of Tween-20 Perna extracts induced such significant decreases in inflammatory cytokine production that when tested on sensitive cell lines, they very nearly abolished the decrease in viability induced by these cytokines. Tween-20 extracts effectively inhibited both COX-1 and COX-2 cyclooxygenase activity. As a comparison, the glycogen extract also demonstrated a similar though weaker effect on COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. The active components of both extracts (Tween-20 and glycogen) were observed to possess molecular weights above 100 kDa. Although the anti-cytokine activity of the Tween-20 extract was destroyed by Proteinase-K treatment, the anti-COX-1 and anti-COX-2 activity of both the extracts were not sensitive to protease treatment.


We have successfully demonstrated modulation in the levels of inflammatory cytokines, cyclooxygenase enzymes and immunoglobulins by our in-house laboratory preparations of Perna canaliculus, whereby suggesting an immunomodulatory role of Perna canaliculus in regulating inflammation.