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Title:  Method of using fermented glycine max (L) extract for enhancing natural killer cell activity

United States Patent:  6,733,801

Issued:  May 11, 2004

Inventors:  Lu; Kung-Ming (Taipei, TW)

Assignee:  Microbio Co., Ltd. (Taipei, TW)

Appl. No.:  178364

Filed:  June 25, 2002

Abstract

This invention relates to a use of a fermented Glycine max (L.) extract prepared by fermenting an aqueous Glycine max (L.) extract with at least one lactic acid bacteria together with at least one yeast, in enhancing Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. In particular, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract can be used in preventing and/or treating a disease in which NK cell activation is implicated in a subject, such as cancer, infectious diseases and modulating the immune system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a use of a fermented Glycine max (L.) extract, which is prepared by fermenting an aqueous Glycine max (L.) extract with at least one lactic acid bacteria together with at least one yeast, in increasing NK cell activity.

One objective of the invention is to provide a method of enhancing NK cell activity in a subject, comprising administering an effective amount of a fermented Glycine max (L.) extract to the subject in need of thereof, wherein the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is prepared by fermenting an aqueous Glycine max (L.) extract with at least one lactic acid bacteria together with at least one yeast. Particularly, Glycine max (L.) is soybean or black soybean. More particularly, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the invention include the fermented soybean extract and fermented black soybean extract.

Another objective of the invention is to provide a method of preventing and/or treating a disease in which NK cell activation is implicated in a subject, comprising administering an effective amount of the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract to the subject in need of thereof. In particular, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the invention can be used in preventing and/or treating a disease in which NK cell activation is implicated in a subject, such as cancer and infectious diseases.

The foregoing objective and summary provide only a brief introduction to the present invention. To fully appreciate these and other objects of the present invention as well as the invention itself, all of which will become apparent to those skilled in the art, the following detailed description of the invention and the claims should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Throughout the specification and drawings identical reference numerals refer to identical or similar parts.

Many other advantages and features of the present invention will become manifest to those versed in the art upon making reference to the detailed description and the accompanying sheets of drawings in which a preferred structural embodiment incorporating the principles of the present invention is shown by way of illustrative example.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a new use of a fermented Glycine max (L.) extract for enhancing NK cell activity and the diseases implicated in the NK cell activation, wherein the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is prepared by fermenting an aqueous Glycine max (L.) extract with at least one lactic acid bacteria together with at least one yeast. It is unexpectedly found that the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract can effectively enhance NK cell activity in a low level.

In particular, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the invention can be used in preventing and/or treating a disease in which NK cell activation is implicated in a subject, such as cancer and infectious diseases. In addition, the fermented soybean extract of the invention can also be used in modulating immune system in which NK cell activation is implicated in a subject, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Process for Producing the Fermented Soybean Extract

The fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is made by fermentation of an aqueous Glycine max (L.) extract with at least one lactic acid bacteria together with at least one yeast, followed by sterilization, e.g. by heat, of the fermented liquid with optional filtration and concentration.

According to the invention, the preferred Glycine max (L.) used in the preparation of the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is selected from the group consisting of soybean and black soybean. More particularly, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the invention is the fermented soybean extract or fermented black soybean extract.

The fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is produced by fermentation of Glycine max (L.) extract with at least one lactic acid bacteria, e.g. one or more strains of a Lactobacillus species or several strains of a number of Lactobacillus species, together with at least one yeast, e.g. one or more strains of a Saccharomyces species or several strains of a number of Saccharomyces species. The fermentation of the aqueous Glycine max (L.) extract with one or more lactic acid bacteria and the optional Saccharomyces species can be carried out sequentially in any order or simultaneously, preferably simultaneously.

If more than one microbe is used in the fermentation, the fermentation can be conducted with the microbes sequentially or simultaneously. Preferably, an aqueous extract of non-genetically modified organic Glycine max (L.) of selected grade is used as a starting material. Preferably, the fermentation is carried out using a heterogeneous culture of Lactobacillus, for example, a culture of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 strains of Lactobacillus and at least one yeast is added to the heterogeneous culture of Lactobacillus. The strains of Lactobacillus that can be used include, for examples, Lactobacillus acidophilus CCRC 10695, 14026, 14064, 14065 and/or 14079, Lactobacillus delbrueckii bulgaricus CCRC 10696, 14007, 14009, 14010, 14069, 14071, 14098 and/or 16054, Lactobacillus lactis lactis CCRC 10791, 12267, 12306, 12312, 12315, 12323, 14016, 14015 and/or 14117, Lactobacillus kefir CCRC 14011, and/or Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens CCRC 16059. The yeast that can be used include, for example, Saccharomyces cerevisiae CCRC 20577, 20578, 20581, 21494, 21550, 21797, 21805, 22138, 22234, 22337, 22731 and/or 22728, and/or Candida kefyr CCRC 21269, 21742 and/or 22057. After fermentation, the fermented liquid is sterilized, e.g. by heat or irradiation, preferably by heat, to obtain a sterilized liquid. Preferably, the sterilized liquid is filtered or centrifuged, preferably filtered, to remove most or all of the dead microbes to obtain the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract. More preferably, the filtration step is followed by removal of some of the water from the filtrate to concentrate the fermented liquid to obtain the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract. Unless otherwise specified, the tests performed in this application involved the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract after the concentration step. Optionally, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract can be dried, e.g. via lyophilization, to obtain the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract in a powder form.

The process can be carried out by mixing organic Glycine max (L.) (with fat removed) with distilled water at a ratio of 1:10. The mixture is heated at 100oC. for 30 minutes and then filtered to obtain a Glycine max (L.) extract. Beef and kelp are boiled in distilled water for 30 minutes to obtain a broth. Salt, sugar and agar are added to produce a special agar medium. The lactic acid bacteria and yeast strains are added to the special agar medium. The lactic acid bacteria with the optional inclusion of the yeast in the medium are transferred to the Glycine max (L.) extract and incubated at 36-43oC. for 45-50 hours. Preferably, the various strains of the microbes are grouped according to similar growth characteristics, e.g. any requirements of unique nutrient medium, whether the microbial strains could produce a good smell after fermentation and whether the grouped microbes can survive in the unique condition, so that groups of the microbes are added to the Glycine max (L.) extract separately before the incubation. The purpose of this step is to reduce any negative interaction among the various strains. Also preferably, equal proportion of the different groups of microbial strains are added to the Glycine max (L.) extract before the incubation and the resulting extract is incubated at 40oC. for 45-47 hours. Upon completion of the incubation period, the heterogeneous culture is then transferred to the Glycine max (L.) extract again and incubated at 36-43oC. for 100-150 hours. The final fermented extract is heat sterilized and filtered; and 95% of the water content of the filtrate is removed in a concentrator to obtain a fermented Glycine max (L.) extract in a concentrated or condensed form. The upper layer is then filtered through porcelain, and thereafter dispensed in containers and sealed.

Within the scope of the present invention is a fermented extract of a Chinese herb prepared in a process similar to the one described above with the substitution of the soybean with the Chinese herb. The fermented extract of the Chinese herbs can be Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fish, Lycium barbarum, Coix lacryma-jobi L var., ma-yune Stapf, Sophora tonkinensis gapnep., Cassia btusifolia., Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, Artemisia capillaries Thunb., Coptis chinensis Frsnch., Gentiana scabra Bge., Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn., Chrysantheiferamum morfolium Ramat., Gardenia jasminoides Ellis, Hordeum vulgare L., Cinnamomum cassia Presl, Raph, anus sativus L., Dioscorea opposita Thunb., Angelica sinensis (Oliv.), Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort., Notopteygium incisum, Paeonia lactiflora Pall., Allium satium L., Schisandra chinensis(Turcz.)Baill, Rehmannia glutinosa Libosch., Acanthopanax gracilistylus W. W. Smith, Equus asinus L., Ligustrum lucidum Ait., Phaseolus radiatus L., Triticum aestivum L., Dolichos lablab L., Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz., Saposhnikovia divaricata, Lonicera japonica Thund., Cinnamomum cassia Presl, Zingiber officinale Rosc., Gastrodia elata Bl., Asparagus cochinchinensis(Liur.)Merr., Dendrobiun loddigesii Rolfe., and Sesamum indicum L.

Use in Enhancing NK Cell Activity

Natural Killer cells, a small subset of peripheral blood lymphocytes, mediate a variety of functions that are important in human health and diseases. In addition to their role in control of metastasis and infections, NK cells participate in immunoregulation, haematopoiesis, reproduction and neuroendocrine interactions. NK cell activity and NK cell count are not the same. NK cells may be present in sufficient numbers, but unless they are activated they are ineffective in doing their job. Decreased NK cell activity is linked to the development and progression of many diseases, moreover to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Therefore, NK cell function appears to be a biological marker for disease and is an important indicator for declining or improving health. In addition to that, NK cell activity serves as an important prognostic factor for a variety of cancers.

Studies in the invention have demonstrated that the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract can increase NK cell activity superior than known fermented soybean foods and unfermented soybean. The increase of NK cell activity by the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract can have cytotoxicity effects by modulating signal transduction, modulating growth factor activation and killing the cancer cells and/or infectious cells. And the increased NK cell activity can result in suppression of tumor growth.

Given the above, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the invention has the superior effects on the enhancement of NK cell activity and thus can be used in preventing and/or treating a disease in which increasing NK cell activity is implicated in a subject, such as cancer, infectious disease and immune modulation. In an embodiment of the invention, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract can be used as an anti-inflammation agent, an anti-cancer agent or an agent for promoting immune function.

Use for Anti-cancer Agent

The fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the present invention has anti-cancer activity for the treatment and/or prevention of cancer, whilst overcoming one or more disadvantages of prior art chemotherapeutic agents available for the treatment cancer. The cancer that can be treated with the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract includes the most prevalent types of cancer in the human population, namely breast cancer, colon cancer, cervix, prostate, kidney, lung, colon and liver cancers.

In cancer cells, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the present invention can induce one or more effects of inhibition of cell proliferation, induction of cell differentiation, induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death), and/or cell cycle blocking. As a consequence, the extract of the present invention have wide ranging activity against cancer cells and are accordingly effective in the treatment and/or prevention of cancers including benign prostatic hypertrophy, prostatic cancer, breast cancer, uterine cancer, leukemia, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, testicular cancer, lymphoma, rhabdosarcoma, neuroblastoma, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, brain tumor, skin cancer, gastric cancer, oral cancer, liver cancer, laryngeal cancer, bladder cancer, thyroid cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer and nasoharyngeal carcinoma.

Use for Promoting Immune Function

In addition to their role in the control of cancer, NK cells helps in the regulation of other aspects of the immune system which effects our overall health. Immunotherpay to help increase NK cell activity is becoming available and will become more widely used as knowledge of the immune system increases. In vitro study indicated that the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract of the invention improved immune function. The effect of the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract on modulation of the immunity of animals (Bala/c mice) was studied by treating the animal with the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract combined with or without a challenge with various mitogens including lipopolysachrride, concanavalin A and phytohaemagglutilin. Spleen cell proliferation assay indicated that the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract could be related with T & B cell interaction in immunity modulation. The fermented Glycine max (L.) extract can also be correlated with anti-inflammation reaction. The Glycine max (L.) extract also enhanced phagocytosis activity of macrophages by 71%. Similar results were found with in vivo studies in mice. It was also demonstrated that the anti-tumor effect of fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is mediated by cytokines released. Conditioned medium from fermented Glycine max (L.) extract-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells by 45-56%. Levels of interleukin-1b, interleukin-b and tumor necrosis factor-a were much higher than those of untreated control. Since untreated Macrophages and T Lymphocytes produced little or no cytokine and normal mononuclear cells did not suppress leukemic cell growth, the anti-tumor activity is speculated to be derived from elevated level of cytokine.

Administration of the Fermented Glycine max (L.) Extract

In this invention, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract may be administered alone or in a composition comprising the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, diluent and/or excipient. Preferably, the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is fermented soybean extract or fermented black soybean extract. The fermented Glycine max (L.) extract may be administered at a dose of about 0.001 to 40 ml/kg body weight, with a maximum dose of 2000 ml per person per administration. Preferably, the dose of the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract is 0.01 to 20 ml/kg, more preferably 0.1 to 5 ml/kg, body weight of the subject. These doses are based on the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract in the concentrated form, but appropriate doses of the fermented Glycine max (L.) extract in the unconcentrated form or dry powder form can be calculated accordingly. The dose can be adjusted based on the health condition of the subject or the disease to be prevented or treated.

The fermented Glycine max (L.) extract was demonstrated to be highly safe for daily intake of 1-10 ml on a long-term basis in a 6 months chronic toxicity study of rodents. Mice receiving a dose of 10 ml/kg and 1 ml/kg for 28 days did not exhibit any significant difference or abnormal symptom in a subacute oral toxicity study. No signs of gross toxicity or mortality were observed in two groups of tested animals administered 20 ml/kg and 1 ml/kg in an acute oral toxicity study of rodents. The fermented Glycine max (L.) extract was demonstrated to be non-mutagenic in Ames test, to not cause chromosomal damage in mammalian cells in vitro and to not induce micronuclei in bone marrow cells in ICR mice tested.

This invention will now be described with reference to the following non-limiting examples.

After white mice (Balb/c) have been fed a fermented soy extract for three weeks, the NK (natural killer) cell activity is examined as follows: Three groups are tested. The first group of Balb/c white mice are fed with PBS buffer solution, the second group is fed with 0.1% FSE, and the third group is fed with 0.4% of FSE.

       TABLE 1
       Group                NK cell activity, killing percentage
       Group fed with PBS   24.8 + 4.8
       cushioning liquid
       0.1% FSE             33.2 + 4.2**
       0.4% FSE             35.1 + 5.9**

Each value was expressed as Mean+SD. The values were analyzed by one-way ANOVA test **, significantly different at 0.01 level compared with control.

To evaluate the effect of FSE on the restoration of chemotherapy induced NK function depression, we examined changes in NK activity before and after fermented soy extract was administered in 18 patients who underwent chemotherapy. The result shows overall NK activity was increased by orally administration of fermented soy extract from 5.751% to 13.493% (p=0.02). The NK activity percentage was shown in below Table 2:

                             TABLE 2
            NK ACTIVITY: Clinical evaluation (n = 18)
    Treatment         NK activity (%, by K562, E/T = 25)  p Value
    Control (C/T)                    5.751
    FSE (C/T + FSE)                 13.493               0.02

The result shown above is a open-label, cross-over, no placebo control designed clinical evaluation.

While certain novel features of this invention have been shown and described and are pointed out in the annexed claim, it is not intended to be limited to the details above, since it will be understood that various omissions, modifications, substitutions and changes in the forms and details of the device illustrated can be made by those skilled in the art without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.

Claim 1 of 6 Claims

I claim:

1. A method of using enhancing natural killer cell activity in a subject a fermented Glycine max (L.) extract comprising the steps of:

(a) fermenting a mixture of an aqueous Glycine max (L.) extract, at least one lactic acid bacteria and a yeast to form a fermented liquid;

(b) sterilizing said fermented liquid;

(c) filtering said fermented liquid to remove particulate matter therein to form said fermented Glycine max (L.) extract; and,

(d) administering said extract in a predetermined amount to a human subject in need thereof wherein the amount is effective to enhance natural killer cell activity for treating and/or reducing a susceptibility to a disease process in which there is insufficient natural killer cell (NK cell) activation to resist and/or prevail against said disease process.




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