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Carbohydr Polym. 2016 Jan 20;136:1265-72. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.10.029. Epub 2015 Oct 22.

Structural characterization of an intestinal immune system-modulating arabino-3,6-galactan-like polysaccharide from the above-ground part of Astragalus membranaceus (Bunge).

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Department of Herbal Medicine Resource, Kangwon National University, Samcheok 245-905, Republic of Korea.
Department of Applied Plant Sciences, Kangwon National University, 200-701, Republic of Korea.
Department of Applied Bioscience, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea.
Department of Applied Bioscience, Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:


Arabino-3,6-galactan (AMA-1-b-PS2), an intestinal immunomodulatory compound, was purified from the above-ground portion of Astragalus membranaceus (Bunge). Its structure was characterized using sequential enzymatic digestion with exo-α-L-arabinofuranosidase (AFase) and exo-β-D-(1 → 3)-galactanase (GNase), producing small amounts of intermediate-sized and shorter oligosaccharide (AF-PS2-G2 and AF-PS2-G3) fractions, and a large GNase-resistant fraction (AF-PS2-G1). Simultaneous AFase and GNase digestion of the enzyme-resistant fraction produced two long fragments (AF3-PS2-G1-1-1 and AF3-PS2-G1-1-2). Products of GNase digestion of the upper fractions showed decreased intestinal immunomodulatory activity; the GNase-resistant fraction (AF-PS2-G1) retained significant activity. Sugar component, methylation, and FAB-MS analyses indicated that the oligosaccharides consisted of hexosyl tri- to hexa-decasaccharides and hexosyl di- to hepta-saccharides mainly comprising 6-linked Gal(f) and Gal(p); some were partially mono- or di-arabinosylated. These oligosaccharide fractions were attached to the non-reducing terminus of the β-D-(1 → 3)-galactan backbone as side chains at position 6. AMA-1-b-PS2 likely modulates both the systemic and gastric mucosal immune systems.


Arabino-3,6-galactan; Astragalus membranaceus; Immunomodulatory activity; Peyer's patch; Polysaccharide

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