It has been recognized that ionized alkali mineral complex (IAMC)-fed farm animals demonstrate higher weight gains hut less incidence of diseases than the unfed ones. However, how these beneficial effects in the IAMC-fed animals are induced has not yet been elucidated clearly. In this study, porcine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were cultured for 4, 24, and 48 hr in the presence of IAMC, and the effects of IAMC on mRNA expression of porcine cytokines were evaluated via a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Expression levels of IL-4, IL-6, and IL-10 in IAMC-treated cells were usually higher than those in the untreated ones. However, IAMC-treated cells demonstrated a reduced expression of IL-2. In addition, expression of IFN-γ was generally reduced in the cells treated with IAMC. The expression of IL-12 p35 and IL-12 p40 was not detectable in both the untreated and the IAMC-treated cells. Therefore, these results indicate that IAMC has immunomodulatory effects in vitro on the expression of porcine Th1-and Th2-type cytokines.
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