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Dis Esophagus. 2013 Nov-Dec;26(8):859-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2012.01397.x. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Agrocybe aegerita polysaccharide combined with chemotherapy improves tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ levels in rat esophageal carcinoma.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The Affiliated Wuxi People's Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China.


Natural compounds have generated great interest as alternative treatments of diseases like cancer. Here, we investigated the anti-tumor mechanism of one such compound, Agrocybe aegerita polysaccharide, by assessing expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in rat esophageal carcinoma (EC). EC was induced in healthy Wistar rats by methyl-n-amyl nitrosamine. Subsequently, rats were administered cancer treatment daily for 4 weeks, as follows: the normal control group (the only group not treated with methyl-n-amyl nitrosamine) and model group received only distilled water; the chemotherapy group received tegafur treatment; and the combination group received tegafur combined with A. aegerita polysaccharide. In normal and combination groups, body weight increased gradually after each week of treatment (P < 0.05), while body weights did not change in model and chemotherapy groups. Using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, we found serum TNF-α was lower in the combination group (31.56 ± 7.20 pg/L) than either the model (46.24 ± 8.52 pg/L) or chemotherapy (52.39 ± 9.16 pg/L) group, and, while higher, was more similar to the normal controls (25.08 ± 2.93 pg/L; P < 0.05), a finding that was confirmed by the immunohistochemistry of esophageal samples. In contrast, serum IFN-γ was higher in the combination group (97.20 ± 10.92 pg/L) than in either the model (76.11 ± 11.92 pg/L) or chemotherapy (76.04 ± 9.85 pg/L) group, but lower than in the normal group (117.56 ± 10.88; P < 0.05), also confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Therefore, Agrocybe aegerita polysaccharide, when combined with chemotherapy, can regulate immune function in EC, potentially by modulating cytokine activity, specifically downregulation of TNF-α and upregulation of IFN-γ.


Agrocybe aegerita polysaccharide; esophageal carcinoma; interferon-γ; rat model; tumor necrosis factor-α

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