Inngjerdingen, M., Inngjerdingen, K. T., Patel, T. R., Allen, S., Chen, X., Rolstad, B., Morris, Gordon, Harding, S. E., Michaelsen, T. E., Diallo, D. and Paulsen, B. S. (2008) Pectic polysaccharides from Biophytum petersianum Klotzsch, and their activation of macrophages and dendritic cells. Glycobiology, 18 (12). pp. 1074-1084. ISSN 0959-6658

The Malian medicinal plant Biophytum petersianum Klotzsch (Oxalidaceae) is used as a treatment against various types of illnesses related to the immune system, such as joint pains, inflammations, fever, malaria, and wounds. A pectic polysaccharide obtained from a hot water extract of the aerial parts of B. petersianum has previously been reported to consist of arabinogalactans types I and II (AG-I and AG-II), probably linked to a rhamnogalacturonan backbone. We describe here further structural characteristics of the main polysaccharide fraction (BP1002) and fractions obtained by enzymatic degradations using endo -α-d-(1→4)-polygalacturonase (BP1002-I to IV). The results indicate that in addition to previously reported structures, rhamnogalacturan type II and xylogalacturonan areas appear to be present in the pectic polymer isolated from the plant. Atomic force microscopy confirmed the presence of branched structures, as well as a polydisperse nature. We further tested whether the BP1002 main fraction or the enzymatically degraded products could induce immunomodulating activity through stimulation of subsets of leukocytes. We found that macrophages and dendritic cells were activated by BP1002 fractions, while there was little response of T cells, B cells, and NK cells. The enzymatic treatment of the BP1002 main fraction gave important information on the structure-activity relations. It seems that the presence of rhamnogalacturonan type I is important for the bioactivity, as the bioactivity decreases with the decreased amounts of rhamnose, galactose, and arabinose. The demonstration of bioactivity by the plant extracts might indicate the mechanisms behind the traditional medical use of the plant. © The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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