Mal J Nutr 22(2): 279 - 287, 2016

Potential Use of Pomegranate (Punica granatum) Extract as an Immune-Stimulant Based on in vitro and in vivo Models
Laily N1,4*, Harahap AR2, Aji GK1, Sukarti I1, Ascobat P3 & Wijayanti RDE1

1Center of Agroindustrial Technology-The Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), Indonesia
2 Department Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia
3 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia
4 Postgraduate Student at Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Indonesia


Introduction: Emergency foods containing immune-stimulants may enhance the immunity of disaster victims suffering from low immune status. This experiment investigated the potential use of pomegranate as an immune-stimulant. Methods: In vitro lymphocyte proliferation analysis showed pomegranate extract as an immune-stimulant. An in-vivo study was conducted with mice fed pomegranate extract added to a high calorie biscuit preparation (Testing Group), and their IgG assays were compared with mice fed a biscuit added commercial immune-stimulant (Comparison) and without immune-stimulant (Control). These 3 groups of mice were starved before the experiment to mimic an emergency condition. Their IgG assays were also compared with two groups of non-starved mice fed a biscuit to which was added pomegranate extract (Non-hunger Testing Group) and without immune-stimulant (Non-hunger Control). Total serum IgG determinations were carried out in weeks 0, 2, 4 and 8 to determine the humoral immunity stimulation. Results: Up to 4th week, there was no significant difference in total IgG among the groups. However, at 8th week, there was a significant increase of total IgG in mice fed with the Test and Comparison foods compared to the Control. This finding indicates pomegranate extract performed as well as the commercial immune-stimulant in increasing IgG. Conclusion: Increase in serum IgG is a sensitive immune-marker that represents a specific humoral immune response due to infections. Pomegranate extract shows potential for use as a supplemental food in improving immunity status of subjects in an emergency situation.

Keywords: Emergency–food, IgG, immune-stimulant, pomegranate-extract

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