Gronhaug, T. E., Ghildyal, P., Barsett, H., Michaelsen, T. E., Morris, Gordon, Diallo, D., Inngjerdingen, M. and Paulsen, B. S. (2010) Bioactive arabinogalactans from the leaves of Opilia celtidifolia Endl. ex Walp. (Opiliaceae). Glycobiology, 20 (12). pp. 1654-1664. ISSN 0959-6658

The leaves of the tree Opilia celtidifolia have a long tradition for being used in Mali and other West African countries against various ailments such as for wound healing. Previous studies on polysaccharides from these leaves showed the presence of pectic-like polymers with an effect on the human complement system as well as the ability to activate macrophages. The present study shows that bioactive arabinogalactans isolated by water of 50°C could be separated into two acidic fractions, Oc50A1 and Oc50A2. The former could, by gel filtration on Sephacryl S-400, be separated into two fractions, which were further purified on a Superdex 200 column to give the fractions Oc50A1.I.pur and Oc50A1.II.pur. These fractions were subjected to chemical and biological studies. The polysaccharides consisted mainly of heavily branched type II arabinogalactans and minor amounts of rhamnogalacturonan I regions. The isolated polymers had a high human complement-fixating ability, as well as the ability to stimulate rat macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) and to induce B cell proliferation. These effects were especially pronounced for the higher molecular weight fraction of Oc50A1.I.pur. The fractions Oc50A1.I.pur and Oc501.II.pur stimulated secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines from purified B cells or DCs. Collectively, these results indicate that the arabinogalactan type II polymers present in the leaves of O. celtidifolia may be used to develop medical devices for regulating inflammatory processes. © 2010 The Author.

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