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28 February 2016 : Laboratory Research

L-Theanine Improves Immunity by Altering TH2/TH1 Cytokine Balance, Brain Neurotransmitters, and Expression of Phospholipase C in Rat Hearts

Chengjian LiABCDEF, Haiou TongB, Qiongxian YanADE, Shaoxun TangC, Xuefeng HanE, Wenjun XiaoA, Zhiliang TanAG

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.897077

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:662-669

Abstract

BACKGROUND: This study aimed to investigate the regulatory effects of L-theanine on secretion of immune cytokines, hormones, and neurotransmitters, and mRNA expression of phospholipase C (PLC) in rats, and to explore its regulatory mechanism in immune function.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sixty-four Sprague-Dawley rats received daily intragastric infusion of different doses of L-theanine solution [0, 50 (LT), 200 (MT), and 400 (HT) mg/kg BW]. Cytokines, immunoglobulins, and hormones in the serum, neurotransmitters, and mRNA expression of PLC in the relevant tissues were assayed.

RESULTS: L-theanine administration increased the splenic organ index and decreased the contents of ILs-4/6/10 and the ratio of IL-4/IFN-γ in the serum. High-dose L-theanine administration increased the levels of dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine in the pituitary and hippocampus, resulting in decrease in corticosterone level in the serum. L-theanine administration decreased the mRNA expressions of PLC isomers in the liver and PLC-γ1 and PLC-δ1 in the spleen. Interestingly, mRNA expressions of PLC-β1 in the spleen and PLC isomers mRNA in the heart were up-regulated by L-theanine administration.

CONCLUSIONS: Administration of 400 mg/kg BWL-theanine improved immune function of the rats by increasing the splenic weight, altering the Th2/Th1 cytokine balance, decreasing the corticosterone level in the serum, elevating dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine in the brain, and regulating the mRNA expression of PLC isomers in the heart.

Keywords: Cytokines - blood, Brain - metabolism, Animals, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Glutamates - pharmacology, Immunity - drug effects, Myocardium - enzymology, Neurotransmitter Agents - metabolism, Organ Specificity - drug effects, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Th1 Cells - immunology, Th2 Cells - immunology, Type C Phospholipases - metabolism

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750