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Drug Discov Ther. 2017 Nov 22;11(5):230-237. doi: 10.5582/ddt.2017.01044. Epub 2017 Oct 11.

Structural analysis of an innate immunostimulant from broccoli, Brassica oleracea var. italica.

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Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo.
Genome Pharmaceuticals Institute Co., Ltd.
Teikyo University Institute of Medical Mycology.


Vegetables are eaten as part of a healthy diet throughout the world, and some are also applied topically as a traditional medicine. We evaluated the innate immunostimulating activities of hot water extracts of various vegetables using the silkworm muscle contraction assay system, and found that broccoli, Brassica oleracea var. italica, contains a strong innate immunostimulant. We purified the innate immunostimulant from broccoli, and characterized the chemical structure by chemical analyses and NMR spectroscopy. The innate immunostimulant comprised galacturonic acid, galactose, glucose, arabinose, and rhamnose, and had a pectic-like polysaccharide structure. To determine the structural motif involved in the innate immunostimulating activity, we modified the structure by chemical and enzymatic treatment, and found that the activity was attenuated by pectinase digestion. These findings suggest that a pectic-like polysaccharide purified from broccoli has innate immune-stimulating activity, for which the polygalacturonic acid structure is necessary.


Innate immune stimulating activity; pectic polysaccharide; polygalacturonic acid; silkworm muscle contraction assay; structure; vegetable

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