Pine Cone Extract Shows Anti-Allergy, Immune-Enhancing Benefits: Mouse Study

St. Petersburg, FL (February 22, 2010) -- Consumption of pine cone extract may reduce the levels of circulating IgE in the blood, and provide a means of reducing the risk of allergies and enhance the specific immune response to foreign proteins, say the results of a mouse study.

The potential immune effects of pine cone extract (called PPC in the scientific literature) are linked to the polyphenol-lignin content, which may affect the action of various proteins involved in regulating the immune response, according to findings published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Allergic disease is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all ages, and the 3rd common chronic disease among children under 18 years old. The costs associated with allergic disease are estimated to be about $7.9 billion per year, of which $4.5 billion was spent on direct care and $3.4 billion on indirect costs, related primarily to lost work productivity. IgE-mediated allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States and represent a huge burden on the health care system.

Since numerous studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between the reduction of serum IgE levels and noticeable improvement in the well being of people suffering from IgE-mediate allergies, strategies to specifically reduce IgE levels in allergy sufferers is desirable. Unfortunately, there are currently no orally- active and FDA-approved products capable of reducing IgE levels and alleviating symptoms for these patients. However, preliminary results obtained from animal and human pilot studies suggest that oral administration of a pine cone extract can modulate the immune response in such a way as to reduce serum levels of IgE. If further studies, particularly in humans, support the potential benefits of pine cone extract, it could be an important addition to the market.

Study details
A variety of vaccine protocols were used to determine the effects of orally administered PPC on the Th1/Th2 cytokine balance, the production of IgE antibodies, and the generation of antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells.

Results: Oral delivery of PPC was found to significantly suppress serum IgE levels in naïve mice and in mice sensitized to the foreign egg protein ovalbumin. PPC was also found to enhance the generation of antigen specific CD8+ T cells in mice immunized with DNA, dendritic cell, and soluble protein vaccines.

Conclusion: Oral delivery of PPC enhances the generation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell immune responses induced by soluble protein, DNA, and dendritic cell vaccines while at the same time suppressing the generation of a Th2 dominant IgE response.

An additional study of Proligna pine cone extract (Immune Extra) in 46 humans this year by three independent Board-certified physician investigators at three different medical centers confirmed safety. Overall, the results demonstrated that Immune Extra pine cone extract is well tolerated and does not cause toxicity, side effects nor is it contraindicated with common medications.

Pine cone extract info
Pine cone extract, also known as PPC in the scientific literature, is a poly-phenylpropanoid-polysaccharide complex prepared from a single species of pine cones. Proligna® pine cone extract is a proprietary powder form of PPC manufactured by Allera Health Products, Inc. (St. Petersburg, FL) and is commercially available as Immune Extra®. The polysaccharide component is composed of mannose, fucose, arabinose, galactose, glucose, and uronic acids. The extraction method used to prepare PPC is highly reproducible.

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