Due to the fact that lymphocytes NK (natural killer cells) are the first line of defence of the body against cancer, one of the goals of modern immunotherapy is the enhancement of their natural activities for the effective recognition, detection, and elimination of cancer cells.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of selected phytochemicals (curcumin and resveratrol) and plant extracts (chlorella and goji berries) on NK cells viability and proliferation, as well as cytotoxic activity against colon cancer – one of the most common cancer worldwide.

Material and methods:
The impact of phytochemicals, viability and proliferation of plant extracts on NK cells was examined in NK-92 cells using both LDH and MTT assays. The immunomodulatory properties of selected compounds were tested against human colon cancer cell line LS180 using the MTT test.

Extracts of chlorella and goji berries significantly increased NK cell proliferation, while curcumin and resveratrol did not affect this process. Curcumin, as well as extracts of chlorella and goji berries, did not impact NK viability, while resveratrol significantly increased it. LDH test revealed the cytotoxic effect of chlorella extract and curcumin in NK-92 cell cultures. On the contrary, goji berries extract significantly decreased LDH level, while resveratrol did not affect the integrity of NK cell membranes. Studies conducted in co-cultures NK cells, also directly eliminated colon cancer cells.

Performed studies revealed immunomodulatory properties of goji berries extract, which improved viability and proliferation of NK cells, and above all, significantly increased their ability to recognize and eliminate colon cancer cells.

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