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Carbohydr Res. 1992 Nov 4;235:247-57.

Development of a water-soluble, sulfated (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan biological response modifier derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Surgery, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City 37614-0575.


This report describes a method for the solubilization of micro-particulate (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan. Insoluble glucan is dissolved in methyl sulfoxide and urea (8 M) and partially sulfated at 100 degrees. The resulting water-soluble product is called glucan sulfate. The conversion rate is 98%, and the preparation is endotoxin free as determined by the Limulus lysate procedure. Glucan sulfate is composed of 34.06% C, 6.15% H, 50.30% O, 5.69% S and 3.23% N, and has a repeating unit empirical formula of (C6H10O5)8.3 SO3NH4+.4 H2O, suggesting that, on the average, a sulfate group is substituted on every third glucose subunit along the polymer. Molecular weight averages, polydispersity, and intrinsic viscosity were determined by aqueous high-performance size-exclusion chromatography (HPSEC). Two polymer peaks were resolved. Peak 1 (Mw = 1.25 x 10(6) g/mol) represents < 1% of the total polymer mass. Peak 2 (Mw = 1.45 x 10(4) g/mol) comprises > 99% of polymers. 13C NMR spectroscopy confirmed the beta-(1-->3) interchain linkage. In solution, glucan sulfate polymers self-associate in a triple helix. Glucan sulfate stimulates murine bone marrow proliferation following intravenous administration. The ability to prepare a immunologically active, water-soluble (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan preparation will greatly enhance the clinical utility of this class of compounds.

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