Allicin, the main organic allyl sulfur component in garlic, exhibits immune-stimulatory and antitumor properties. Allicin stimulated [3H]thymidine incorporation in mouse splenocytes and enhanced cell-mediated cytotoxicity in human peripheral mononuclear cells. Multiple administration (i.p.) of allicin elicited a marked antitumor effect in mice inoculated with B-16 melanoma and MCA-105 fibrosarcoma. The immune-stimulatory and antitumor effects of allicin are characterized by a bell-shaped curve, i.e. allicin at high, supra-optimal concentrations is less effective or inhibitory. Allicin induced activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) in human peripheral mononuclear cells, and also in wild-type Jurkat T-cells. Allicin failed to activate ERK1/2 in Jurkat T cells that express p21ras, in which Cys118 was replaced by Ser. These cells are not susceptible to redox-stress modification and activation. We postulate that the immune stimulatory effect of allicin is mediated by redox-sensitive signaling such as activation of p21ras. It is suggested that the antitumor effect of allicin is related to its immune-stimulatory properties.
- Cancer immunotherapy
- Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
- Free radical