The stimulatory effects of the synthetic beta-(1-->6)-branched beta-(1-->3) glucohexaose and its analogues containing an alpha-(1-->3)-linked bond on the mouse spleen were studied for elucidation of the mechanism of their antitumor activity, and their stimulatory effects were compared with Lentinan. The mouse spleen's weight was increased after the intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of the oligosaccharides compared with the saline group. In addition, routinely hematoxylin and eosin (HE)-stained spleen sections showed that the injection also changed the spleen's histopathology. RNA samples were isolated from splenocytes of oligosaccharides, Lentinan or saline-injected mice. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Northern blot showed that the administration of the oligosaccharides or Lentinan enhanced mouse spleen mRNA production of TNF-alpha but not IL-2. The injection also enhanced Concanavalin A (Con A)-induced mouse splenocytes proliferation, but the in vitro administration of the oligosaccharides did not have the proliferation-enhancing effect. Taken together, these results suggest that the synthetic beta-(1-->6)-branched beta-(1-->3) glucohexaose and its analogues containing an alpha-(1-->3)-linked bond have similar stimulatory effects as Lentinan. Additionally, they may exert their antitumor effects through the induction of splenocytes mediated immune responses.
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