The acid-hydrolyzed fragments of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides (GLPS) obtained by Smith degradation were separated by size-exclusion chromatography into two major water-soluble fractions: peptidoglycans (GLPS-SF1) and oligosaccharides (GLPS-SF2). Both fractions induced CD69 in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPB-MNCs), and they displayed distinct immunomodulating properties. GLPS-SF1, with a molecular weight of around 20 kDa, were heterogeneous peptidoglycans composed of glucose/mannose (4:1) that exhibited biological activities with Th1 cytokines IL-12, IL-2, TNF-α, and IFN-γ in hPB-MNCs and stimulated macrophage cytokine expression via Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling. For GLPS-SF2, with a molecular weight of around several kilodaltons, its sugar sequence was elucidated by mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy as [-α-1,4-Glc-(β-1,4-GlcA)(3)-](n). This oligosaccharide displayed specific immune property with low monocyte induction, greatly stimulated cell activation and proliferation of NK and T cells. This oligosaccharide isolated from G. lucidumpolysaccharides with internal glucuronic acids/glucose repeat unit in a 3:1 ratio may be responsible for the active stimulation of NK and T cells.
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