Lentinan, an immunopotentiating β-1,3-glucan polysaccharide stimulated the in vitro phagocytosis of BSA-coated, C3b- or monoclonal immunoglobulin (IgG2b)-coated fluorescent microspheres by resident or thioglycollate-elicited mouse macrophages in a dose-dependent manner. Analysis of flow cytometric data has shown that microbead phagocytosis of resident macrophages, which exhibit a lower basic phagocytic activity than the thioglycollate elicited ones, has been augmented by up to 900% due to lentinan. The percent ratio of phagocytes among peritoneal exudate cells, however, remained unchanged after short-term lentinan stimulation. Preincubation of the cells with lentinan resulted in increased ingestion of the microbeads. Activation of phagocytosis by lentinan is therefore due in part to the direct stimulation of the cells, however, lentinan also serves as supplementary opsonin for C3b-coated beads. Mannan inhibited the ingestion of C3b-coated microspheres by 75%, which was abolished in part when lentinan was also added to the cells. Mannan did not influence the phagocytosis of BSA-coated or IgG-coated beads. Our data, based solely on in vitro studies, suggest a β-glucan receptor mediated activation of phagocytes by lentinan. These receptors are different from the C3b, Fc or mannose receptors. It is very likely that stimulation of phagocytic activity of macrophages by lentinan may contribute to the antitumor action of this immunopotentiating polysaccharide.
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