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Macrophages, Rather Than T and B Cells Are Principal Immunostimulatory Target Cells of Lycium Barbarum L. Polysaccharide LBPF4-OL

Goji berries (Lycium barbarum, wolfberry) grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. They are in the nightshade (Solonaceae) family. Goji berries are usually found dried. They are shriveled red berries that look like red raisins. Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as Beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin's key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to: protect the liver, help eyesight, improve sexual function and fertility, strengthen the legs, boost immune function, improve circulation, and to promote longevity.

Zhang XR, Zhou WX, Zhang YX, Qi CH, Yan H, Wang ZF, Wang B. Macrophages, rather than T and B cells are principal immunostimulatory target cells of Lycium barbarum L. polysaccharide LBPF4-OL. 1. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jul 14;136(3):465-72. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

AIM OF THE STUDY: Lycium barbarum L. is a renowned Yin strengthening agent in traditional Chinese medicine. Lycium barbarum L. polysaccharide-protein complex is well-known for its immunoregulatory and antitumor effects. LBPF4-OL is the glycan part of Lycium barbarum L. polysaccharide-protein complex fraction 4 (LBPF4). LBPF4-OL's active contribution in LBPF4 is still blank. In the study, we enrich the polysaccharide part of Lycium barbarum L. polysaccharide-protein complex, and investigate its immunostimulatory effects on mouse spleen cells, T cells, B cells and macrophages. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Balb/C mice were used in vitro and in vivo studies. In in vitro study, lymphocyte proliferations were analyzed with (3)H-TdR incorporation method. Miltenyi MicroBeads were used in the purification of lymphocytes. Activation of T and B cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. In order to obtain the peritoneal macrophages, mice were injected i.p. with 1mL of sodium thioglycollate 3 days prior to killing. Spleen cells were stimulated with LBPF4-OL and cytokine concentrations in the supernatants were determined by multiplex bead analysis. In in vivo study, mice were injected i.p. with 1 mL of normal saline or 100 ?g/mL LBPF4-OL daily for 6 days. Peritoneal macrophage functions were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and flow cytometry assay. RESULTS: Spleen cells and lymphocyte proliferation assay indicated that LBPF4-OL markedly induced the spleen cell proliferation, but could not induce proliferation of purified T and B lymphocytes. Further research revealed that B cell proliferation took place in the presence of activated macrophages or LPS. Multiplex bead analysis showed that LBPF4-OL can obviously induce IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and TNF-? production of the spleen cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Flow cytometric analysis showed that LBPF4-OL (i.p.) prompts CD86 and MHC-II molecules expression on macrophages. ELISA assay showed that LBPF4-OL can greatly strengthen macrophage releasing of TNF-? and IL-1?. CONCLUSION: These results suggested that glycan LBPF4-OL plays an important role in the immunopharmacological activity of Lycium barbarum L. polysaccharide-protein complex, and primary mouse macrophages, rather than T and B cells, are the principal target cells of it.