Exopolysaccharides from Cyanobacterium aponinum from the Blue Lagoon in Iceland increase IL-10 secretion by human dendritic cells and their ability to reduce the IL-17+ROR?t+/IL-10+FoxP3+ ratio in CD4+ T cells.
Regular bathing in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland has beneficial effects on psoriasis. Cyanobacterium aponinum is a dominating member of the Blue Lagoon's microbial ecosystem. The aim of the study was to determine whether exopolysaccharides (EPSs) secreted by C. aponinum (EPS-Ca) had immunomodulatory effects in vitro. Human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) were matured in the absence or presence of EPS-Ca and the effects were determined by measuring the secretion of cytokines by ELISA and the expression of surface molecules by flow cytometry. DCs matured with EPS-Ca at 100 µg/ml secreted higher levels of IL-10 than untreated DCs. Subsequently, DCs matured in the presence or absence of EPS-Ca were co-cultured with allogeneic CD4(+) T cells and their effects on T cell activation analysed by measuring expression of intracellular and surface molecules and cytokine secretion. Supernatant from allogeneic T cells co-cultured with EPS-Ca-exposed DCs had raised levels of IL-10 compared with control. A reduced frequency of IL-17(+)ROR?t(+) T cells was observed when co-cultured with EPS-Ca-exposed DCs and a tendency towards increased frequency of FoxP3(+)IL-10(+) T cells, resulting in a lower IL-17(+)ROR?t(+)/FoxP3(+)IL-10(+) ratio. The study shows that EPSs secreted by C. aponinum stimulate DCs to produce vast amounts of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10. These DCs induce differentiation of allogeneic CD4(+) T cells with an increased Treg but decreased Th17 phenotype. These data suggest that EPSs from C. aponinum may play a role in the beneficial clinical effect on psoriasis following bathing in the Blue Lagoon.