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J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2009 Sep;19(9):951-9.

Study of macrophage activation and structural characteristics of purified polysaccharides from the fruiting body of Hericium erinaceus.

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  • 1Department of Bioengineering, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 200-701, Korea.


Most, if not all, Basidiomycetes mushrooms have biologically active polysaccharides showing potent antitumor activity with immunomodulating properties. These polysaccharides have various chemical compositions and belong primarily to the beta-glucan group. In this study, the crude water-soluble polysaccharide HEF-P, which was obtained from the fruiting body of Hericium erinaceus by hot water extraction and ethanol precipitation, was fractionated by DEAE-cellulose and Sepharose CL-6B column chromatographies. This process resulted in four polysaccharide fractions, named HEF-NP Fr I, HEF-NP Fr II, HEF-AP Fr I, and HEF-AP Fr II. Of these fractions, HEF-AP Fr II was able to upregulate the functional events mediated by activated macrophages, such as production of nitric oxide and expression of cytokines (IL-1beta and TNF-beta). The molecular mass of HEF-AP Fr II was estimated by gel filtration to be 13 kDa. Its structural characteristics were investigated by a combination of chemical and instrumental analyses, including methylation, reductive cleavage, acetylation, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Results indicate that HEF-AP Fr II is a low-molecular-mass polysaccharide with a laminarin-like triple helix conformation of a beta-1,3-branched-beta-1,6-glucan.

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