Immunomodulatory action

Aloe gel may also directly stimulate the immune system (Womble and Helderman, 1988) through its active ingredient acemannan. This polysaccharide increases lymphocyte response to alloantigen; it activates macrophages to produce nitric oxide (Karaca etal, 1995) and cytokines (interleukins 1 and 6, interferon, tumor necrosis factor); it enhances phagocytosis (Shida etal., 1985); and, it increases the number of circulating monocytes and macrophages. Aloe gel also causes a local activation of complement at the level of C3. Recently Qiu etal. (2000) have developed a process to activate and stabilise aloe polysaccharide. Modified aloe polysaccharide (MAP) prevents ultraviolet (UV) irradiation-induced immune suppression as determined by contact hypersensitivity response in mice. MAP also inhibits UV irradiation-induced TNF (tumour necrosis factor) release from human epidermoid carcinoma cells. All these results indicate that MAP can be used to reduce the risk of sunlight-related human skin cancer.

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