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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 4;9(4):e94040. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094040. eCollection 2014.

The multifaceted effects of polysaccharides isolated from Dendrobium huoshanense on immune functions with the induction of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) in monocytes.

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Institute of Biochemical Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan; Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Pediatrics/Hematology-Oncology, University of California San Diego Medical Center, San Diego, California, United States of America; Center of Stem Cell & Translational Cancer Research, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan; The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, United States of America.


Dendrobium huoshanense is a valuable and versatile Chinese herbal medicine with the anecdotal claims of cancer prevention and anti-inflammation. However, its immunological activities are limited to in vitro studies on a few cytokines and immune cell functions. First, we investigated the effects of polysaccharides isolated from DH (DH-PS) on inducing a panel of cytokines/chemokines in mice in vivo and human in vitro. We found that DH polysaccharides (DH-PS) induced TH1, TH2, inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in mouse in vivo and human cells in vitro. Secondly, we demonstrated that DH-PS expanded mouse splenocytes in vivo including CD4(+) T cells, CD8(+) T cells, B cells, NK cells, NKT cells, monocytes/macrophages, granulocytes and regulatory T cells. Notably, DH-PS induced an anti-inflammatory molecule, IL-1ra, in mouse and human immune cells, especially monocytes. The serum level of IL-1ra elicited by the injection of DH-PS was over 10 folds of IL-1β, suggesting that DH-PS-induced anti-inflammatory activities might over-ride the inflammatory ones mediated by IL-1β. The signaling pathways of DH-PS-induced IL-1ra production was shown to involve ERK/ELK, p38 MAPK, PI3K and NFκB. Finally, we observed that IL-1ra level induced by DH-PS was significantly higher than that by F3, a polysaccharide extract isolated from another popular Chinese herbal medicine, Ganoderma lucidum. These results indicated that DH-PS might have potential applications for ameliorating IL-1-induced pathogenic conditions.

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