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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 287631, 12 pages
Research Article

Differential Effects of Naja naja atra Venom on Immune Activity

1Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Translational Research and Therapy for Neuro-Psycho-Diseases (BM2013003), Department of Pharmacology and Laboratory of Aging and Nervous Diseases, Soochow University School of Pharmaceutical Science, Suzhou 215123, China
2The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China

Received 23 January 2014; Revised 15 May 2014; Accepted 21 May 2014; Published 12 June 2014

Academic Editor: Ching-Liang Hsieh

Copyright © 2014 Jian-Qun Kou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previous studies reported that Naja naja atra venom (NNAV) inhibited inflammation and adjuvant arthritis. Here we investigated the role of NNAV in regulation of immune responses in mice. Oral administration of NNAV to normal mice showed significant increase in natural killer cell activity, B lymphocyte proliferation stimulated by lipopolysaccharides, and antibody production in response to sheep red blood cells. Meanwhile, NNAV markedly decreased T lymphocyte proliferation stimulated by concanavalin A, arrested the cell cycle at G0/G1 phase, and suppressed CD4 and CD8 T cell divisions. Furthermore, NNAV inhibited the dinitrofluorobenzene-induced delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction. This modulation of immune responses may be partly attributed to the selective increase in Th1 and Th2 cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-4) secretion and inhibition of Th17 cytokine (IL-17) production. In dexamethasone-induced immunosuppressed mice, NNAV restored the concentration of serum IgG and IgM, while decreasing the percentage of CD4 and CD8 T-cell subsets. These results indicate that NNAV enhances the innate and humoral immune responses while inhibiting CD4 Th17 and CD8 T cell actions, suggesting that NNAV could be a potential therapeutic agent for autoimmune diseases.