IFN-β is one of the cytokines that play an extremely important role in the host defense against the infection with viruses and bacteria. In a previous study in which mice were infected with a highly virulent strain of influenza virus, oral administration of HK L-137 increased the production of IFN-β at the early stage of infection. The increased production of IFN-β was associated with the suppression of the growth of the influenza virus in the lungs and the prolongation of the survival period in the infected mice.
In this study, we examined the effect of the intake of HK L-137 on the production of IFN-β in humans. As a result, an increase in blood IFN-β concentration was observed in 75% of the subjects who took HK L-137.
Eight healthy female volunteers received one tablet containing 10 mg HK L-137 daily for 8 weeks, and another set of 8 healthy female volunteers received one tablet containing no HK L-137 daily for 8 weeks. The serum concentration of IFN-β was measured in both groups.
An influenza vaccine was injected to the subjects at Weeks 4 and 6 after the beginning of HK L-137 intake.
In the control group, the serum concentration of IFN-β was below the limit of detection throughout the intake period in 6 subjects, increased in 1 subject, and decreased in 1 subject. On the other hand, in the HK L-137 group, increases in the serum concentration of IFN-β was observed in 6 out of the 8 subjects from Week 4 after the beginning of intake, and the increases in the serum concentration of IFN-β were kept throughout the intake period.
In a study in which mice were infected with influenza virus, it was confirmed that HK L-137 increased the production of IFN-β, suppressed the growth of influenza virus, and prolonged the survival period of the mice.
In the study in human subjects, the serum concentration of IFN-β was increased by the intake of HK L-137. Therefore, it is expected that the daily intake of HK L-137 may be effective to prevent influenza virus infection. Since IFN-β is a cytokine that acts generally against viruses and bacteria, it is possible that the intake of HK L-137 is effective to prevent infection with a wid variety of microorganisms.
Reference：Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 34: 937-943, 2012