BACKGROUND: There has been considerable interest recently in the physiological effects of foods on health. Research has focused on biological effects on the immune system, as substances related to the human defense system are expected to be found in staple cereals. The aims of the present study were to investigate whether water-soluble polysaccharide fractions in wheat have anticomplementary activity, which was found in rice, and to distinguish between real complement inhibitors and complement-activating substances.
RESULTS: Anticomplementary activity of polysaccharide isolated from Glycyrrhiza uralensis, a medicinal herb, showed similar potency to that of rice polysaccharides but not wheat polysaccharide. By varying pre-incubation time with complement, rice polysaccharides were identified as a stimulator of both the classical and alternative pathways of complement activation (humoral immunity).
CONCLUSION: Non-amylaceous water-soluble polysaccharide fractions in cereals do not necessarily have similar activity, whereas it is a new finding that staple cereals include this immunomodulating activity, which is positively related to health. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry