Journal of ethnopharmacology

Anti-tumor and immunomodulatory activity of peptide fraction from the larvae of Musca domestica.

PMID 24690776


The larvae of Musca domestica (Diptera: Muscidae) have been used traditionally for malnutritional stagnation, decubital necrosis, osteomyelitis, ecthyma and lip scald and also to treat coma and gastric cancer in the traditional Chinese medicine. Its in vitro antitumor activity and immunomodulatory effect in naïve mice in relation to the traditional uses were also reported. However, the in vivo antitumor effect of this insect and its mechanism of action have not yet been well studied. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the in vivo antitumor potential of the peptide fraction from Musca domestica larvae (MDPF) and to elucidate its immunological mechanisms. The mice inoculated with sarcoma S180 cells were orally administered with MDPF at three doses for 10 days. The effects of MDPF on the growth of mouse S180 sarcoma, splenocyte proliferation, the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), production and mRNA expression of cytokines from splenocytes, and serum antigen-specific antibody levels in tumor-bearing mice were measured. MDPF could significantly not only inhibit the growth of mouse transplanted S180 sarcoma, but also promote splenocytes proliferation, NK cell and CTL activity from splenocytes, and enhance serum antigen-specific IgG, IgG2a and IgG2b antibody levels in S180-bearing mice. MDPF also significantly promoted the production of IFN-γ and up-regulated the mRNA expression levels of IFN-γ and Th1 transcription factors T-bet and STAT-4 in splenocytes from the S180-bearing mice. However, Th2 cytokine IL-10 and transcription factors GATA-3 and STAT-6 were not significantly changed both at transcriptional and protein levels following MDPF treatment. MDPF significantly inhibit the growth of transplantable tumor in mice and its in vivo antitumor activity might be achieved by switching-on of Th1-based protective cell-mediated immunity. MDPF could act as antitumor agent with immunomodulatory activity.