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A closer look at the immunostimulatory effects of ginseng berry polysaccharides


South Korean researchers investigated the effects of polysaccharides from ginseng berry on the activation of natural killer (NK) cells and the inhibition of tumors. Their findings were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • Ginseng root is used in traditional Chinese medicine for the enhancement of immune system function.
  • To explore the immunostimulatory effects of ginseng berry, the researchers isolated a crude polysaccharide (GBPP) and used gel filtration chromatography to obtain three more fractions, namely, GBPP-I, GBPP-II and GBPP-III.
  • GBPP-I consisted of mainly galactose (46.9 percent) and arabinose (27.5 percent) and showed a high dose-dependent anti-complementary activity.
  • GBPP-I stimulation of murine peritoneal macrophages enhanced interleukin (IL)-6, IL-12 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-a production.
  • Meanwhile, oral administration of GBPP-I significantly increased NK cell cytotoxicity in YAC-1 tumor cells and production of granzyme B.
  • Prophylactic intravenous and oral administration of GBPP-I significantly and dose-dependently inhibited lung metastatic activity in B16-BL6 melanoma cells.
  • On the other hand, depletion of NK cells after the injection of rabbit anti-asialo GM1 partially abolished the inhibitory effect of GBPP-I on lung metastasis. This suggested that NK cells play an important role in anti-cancer effects.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that GBPP-I has strong-immune-enhancing activity and can prevent cancer metastasis via activation of NK cells and other immune-related cells.

Journal Reference:

Lee DY, Park CW, Lee SJ, Park HR, Seo DB, Park JY, Park J, Shin KS. IMMUNOSTIMULATING AND ANTIMETASTATIC EFFECTS OF POLYSACCHARIDES PURIFIED FROM GINSENG BERRY. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2019;47(04):823–839. DOI: 10.1142/s0192415x19500435



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