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Special Issue "Molecular Mechanisms Underlying the Improving Effects of Natural Compounds on Immune Cell Functions"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Immunology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Ken Shirato
Guest Editor
Department of Molecular Predictive Medicine and Sport Science, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Mitaka, Japan
Interests: natural compound; exercise; macrophage; phagocytosis; inflammatory response; cell signaling; M1 and M2 polarization; infectious disease; chronic inflammatory disease; obesity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Macrophages play essential roles in the first line of innate immune responses, by phagocytosing pathogens using pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), such as scavenger receptors and mannose receptors. Macrophages also produce pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines to promote inflammation in the infectious foci, by detecting a broad range of pathogen-associated molecular patterns using PRRs, such as the toll-like receptors, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptors, and retinoic acid-inducible gene I-like receptors. These initial reactions of macrophages in the early stage of infection are essential for effective clearance of pathogens and subsequent activation of acquired immune responses. However, it is suggested that functional impairment of immune cells, including macrophages, natural killer cells, and T- and B-lymphocytes causes increased susceptibility to infectious diseases in populations with pathophysiological conditions, such as advanced aging, obesity, and diabetes. In contrast, macrophages mediate systemic chronic low-grade inflammation, by producing pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to endogenous danger-associated molecular patterns, in obese individuals to develop metabolic syndrome. Therefore, it is an important task to establish evidence-based strategies for improving reduced immune cell functions or regulating excessive macrophage pro-inflammatory responses. Among these are daily intake of functional foods or supplementation of their ingredients, which are expected to modulate immune cell functions without influencing serious side-effects. This special issue aims to provide the evidence worldwide, by calling for original and review articles that address molecular mechanisms supporting biological effects of natural compounds on immune cell functions. In vivo and in vitro experiments are acceptable to examine the effects of a single compound. Using cell lines is useful to reveal detailed mechanisms, but it is also encouraged to confirm whether similar biological activities or mechanisms are observed in primary cultured cells.

Dr. Ken Shirato
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • natural compounds
  • immune cells
  • macrophages
  • phagocytosis
  • inflammatory responses
  • cell signaling
  • pattern recognition receptors
  • pathogen-associated and danger-associated molecular patterns
  • danger-associated molecular patterns
  • infectious diseases
  • chronic inflammatory diseases

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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