Effects of yolkin on the immune response of mice and its plausible mechanism of action

Bożena Obmińska-Mrukowicz, Marianna Szczypka, Magdalena Lis, Aleksandra Pawlak, Agnieszka Suszko-Pawłowska, Angelika Sysak, Aleksandra Zambrowicz, Timo Burster, Maja Kocięba, Jolanta Artym, Ewa Zaczyńska, Iwona Kochanowska, Michał Zimecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Yolkin is a product of proteolytic degradation of vitellogenin, a protein contained in eggs’ yolk, with already described procognitive properties. Here, we investigated effects of yolkin on the humoral and cellular immune response in mice, phenotype of cells from lymphoid organs and function of innate immunity cells. In vitro studies included effects of yolkin on mitogen-induced thymocyte proliferation, percentage of CD19 cells in bone marrow cells culture, expression of signaling molecules in Jurkat cells, interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R) subunits in WEHI 231 cells and susceptibility of these cells to anti-Ig-induced cell death. The results showed that repeatable i.p. injections of yolkin stimulated the humoral immune response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) irrespective of the time of the treatment. On the other hand, yolkin inhibited contact sensitivity to oxazolone. Treatment of mice with yolkin diminished the percentage of double positive cells and increasing the content of single positive CD4+ and CD8+ cells in the thymus. At the same time an increase of percentage of CD19 + B cells in the spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes was observed. In addition, the protein, given i.p., diminished ex vivo ability to synthesize nitric oxide by resident, peritoneal macrophages, stimulated with lipopolisaccharide (LPS). In vitro studies showed that yolkin increased CD19+ cell content in bone marrow cell population. The protein also enhanced proliferation of thymocytes to concanavalin A and stimulated expression of MAP kinases in Jurkat cells. In WEHI 231 B cell line yolkin caused a loss of IL-2R gamma chain expression, correlated with an increased resistance of these cells to proapoptotic action of anti-Ig antibodies. In conclusion, this is a first demonstration of immunotropic properties of yolkin in in vitro and in vivo tests. The results provide evidence for induction of maturation and stimulatory signals in immature T and B cells by the protein, suggesting its potential role in the development of an embryo's immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalImmunology Letters
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Contact sensitivity
  • Egg proteins
  • Humoral immune response
  • MAP kinases
  • T and B cells
  • Yolkin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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