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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2007 Jan;14(1):21-7. Epub 2006 Nov 8.

Enhancement of umbilical cord blood cell hematopoiesis by maitake beta-glucan is mediated by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor production.

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  • 1Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.


Maitake beta-glucan (MBG) is an extract from the fruit body of the Grifola frondosa mushroom that is being widely used to treat cancer in Asia. We have previously reported that MBG enhances mouse bone marrow cell (BMC) hematopoiesis in vitro and protects BMC from doxorubicin (DOX) toxicity. In the current study, we investigated the ability of MBG to enhance hematopoiesis and to reduce the toxic effects of DOX on fresh human umbilical cord blood (CB) cells. MBG treatment significantly enhanced the colony formation unit (CFU) response of granulocytes-macrophages (CFU-GM response) over the whole dose range of 12.5 to 100 microg/ml (P < 0.05). The addition of MBG to DOX-treated CB cells significantly protected granulocyte-macrophage colony formation from the toxicity of DOX, which otherwise produced strong hematopoietic repression. MBG also partially replaced recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rhG-CSF), as shown by a significant augmentation of the CFU-GM response in the absence of rhG-CSF. We found that MBG induces granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) production in CB CD33+ monocytes, as detected by intracellular cytokine flow cytometric assessment. In contrast, we found that adult peripheral blood monocytes did not produce a significant G-CSF response to MBG, whereas both adult and CB monocytes produced G-CSF in response to lipopolysaccharide. These studies provide the first evidence that MBG induces hematopoietic stem cell proliferation and differentiation of CFU-GM in umbilical CB cells and acts directly to induce G-CSF.

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