Orally administered marine (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan Phycarine stimulates both humoral and cellular immunity.

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(1-->3)-beta-D-Glucans represent highly conserved structural components of cell walls in yeast, fungi, or seaweed. However, it is still unknown how they mediate their effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate both intraperitoneal and oral application of seaweed-derived (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan Phycarine. Phycarine showed significant stimulation of phagocytosis by peripheral blood cells. In addition, the efficiency of chemotherapy of Lewis lung carcinoma with cyclophosphamide was potentiated by Phycarine administration. Phycarine also strongly shortened the recovery of leucopenia caused either by chemotherapy or irradiation. Besides the role in stimulation of cellular immunity, we also found a significant increase of antibody formation. Using a suckling rat model for evaluation of the absorption and tissues distribution of enterally administered (125)I-Phycarine, we found that the majority of Phycarine was detected in the stomach and duodenum 5 min after the administration. This amount sharply decreased during first 30 min. A significant amount of Phycarine entered proximal intestine in a shortly after the gavage. Its transit through proximal intestine was decreasing with time and simultaneously increasing in the ileum. Systemic blood levels were very low (less than 0.5%). Taken together, these observations suggest that Phycarine is similarly effective both after i.p. and oral application, has very strong stimulating effects on three types of experimentally induced leucopenia and stimulates both humoral and cellular branch of immune reactions. The majority of Phycarine can be detected throughout the gastrointestinal tract, supporting the feasibility of enteral administration of Phycarine in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.


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