Activation of RAW 264.7 cells by Astraeus hygrometricus-derived heteroglucan through MAP kinase pathway


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Mushroom-derived polysaccharides like β-glucan are being investigated for therapeutic properties for a long time, but their mode of action of immunomodulatory properties is not well established. In the present study, a heteroglucan from Astraeus hygrometricus designated as AE2 is investigated for its macrophage stimulatory properties using RAW 264.7 cell line. An augmentation of nitric oxide production is observed in the presence of AE2 in a dose-dependent manner due to up-regulation of iNOS (inducible NO synthase) expression; hence NF κB (nuclear factor κB) pathway is investigated. RAW 264.7 cells endured phosphorylation of Ikk (IκB kinase) and subsequently NF κB is translocated to the nucleus. Further, the PKC (protein kinase C) level of the cells enhanced significantly. We also found that AE2 could induce the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase), ERK1/2 (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2), MEK (MAPK/ERK kinase) and JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase), whereas it failed to induce phosphorylation of JAK2 (Janus kinase 2) and STAT1. These results indicated that the macrophage activation by AE2 might be exerted, at least in part, via MAPKs (mitogen-activated protein kinases) pathway of signal transduction.