Open Veterinary Journal

Open Veterinary Journal

Peer-Reviewed Journal 
ISSN 2218-6050 (Online), ISSN 2226-4485 (Print) 

"Short Communication"

Enhancement of natural killer cell activity by oral administration of a fermented soybean product in dogs

Shoma Mikawa(1), Akira Matsuda(1*), Yasuyuki Kamemori(2), Satoru Asanuma(3) and Hitoshi Kitagawa(1)

1- Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Okayama University of Science, 1-3 Ikoinooka, Imabari-city, Ehime 794-8555, Japan

2- Okayama University of Science Specialized Training College, 8-3 Handayama, Kita-ku, Okayama-city, Okayama 700-0003, Japan

3- Purebox Co., Ltd., 211-13 Kurata, Naka-ku, Okayama-city, Okayama 703-8265, Japan


Background: Probiotics are known for their ability to enhance cellular immunity, including the activation of macrophages, natural killer cells, and cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Natto is a Japanese traditional probiotic food made by fermenting soybean with bacteria Bacillus subtilis natto. Components of natto include spores of B. subtilis natto, poly-γ-glutamic acid, and levan, have demonstrated their immunoadjuvant and anti-allergic effects through various in vitro and in vivo studies. However, it remains unclear whether oral administration of natto can modulate the immune activity in animals.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate the effects of oral administration of natto on the immune system of dogs.

Methods: Eight dogs were randomly divided into 2 groups: a natto-treated group and an untreated group. The dogs in the natto-treated group were fed with 10 g/head/day of a freeze-dried natto product in addition to a usual amount of regular dry food for 14 days, whereas the dogs in the untreated group were fed with the regular dry food alone. To determine cellular immune activity, the cell surface antigen analysis of peripheral blood lymphocytes and cytotoxicity analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells were performed before and after the natto administration period. Additionally, relative expression of inflammatory cytokines in peripheral blood monocytes after the introduction of antigen-stimulation, was also examined.

Results: At the end of the administration period, a proportion of natural killer cells (CD3-CD5-CD21- cells and CD3+CD5dimCD8+ cells) in peripheral blood lymphocytes were found to be significantly increased, and the cytotoxic effect of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells on canine tumor cells were greatly enhanced in the natto-treated group, but not in the untreated group. The expression of TNF-α in peripheral blood mononuclear cells following an antigen-stimulation was increased considerably in the dogs after administration of natto.

Conclusion: We concluded that oral administration of natto activated the cytotoxic activity of peripheral natural killer cells in dogs, and a daily intake of natto might be helpful in augmenting cellular immune activity.

Keywords: Bacillus subtilis natto, Cellular immune, Dog, Fermented soy bean, Natural killer cell.

Cite this paper:

Mikawa, S., Matsuda, A., Kamemori, Y., Asanuma, S. and Kitagawa, H. 2021. Enhancement of natural killer cell activity by oral administration of a fermented soybean product in dogs. Open Vet. J. 11(3), 394-400.