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Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides can induce human monocytic leukemia cells into dendritic cells with immuno-stimulatory function

Wing Keung Chan, Christopher Ching Hang Cheung, Helen Ka Wai Law, Yu Lung Lau and Godfrey Chi Fung Chan*

Author Affiliations

Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, PR China

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Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2008, 1:9  doi:10.1186/1756-8722-1-9

Published: 21 July 2008

Abstract

Background

Previous studies demonstrated Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides (GL-PS), a form of bioactive β-glucan can stimulate the maturation of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DC). The question of how leukemic cells especially in monocytic lineage respond to GL-PS stimuli remains unclear.

Results

In this study, we used in vitro culture model with leukemic monocytic cell-lines THP-1 and U937 as monocytic effectors cells for proliferation responses and DCs induction. We treated the THP-1 and U937 cells with purified GL-PS (100 μg/mL) or GL-PS with GM-CSF/IL-4. GL-PS alone induced proliferative response on both THP-1 and U937 cells but only THP-1 transformed into typical DC morphology when stimulated with GL-PS plus GM-CSF/IL-4. The transformed THP-1 DCs had significant increase expression of HLA-DR, CD40, CD80 and CD86 though not as high as the extent of normal monocyte-derived DCs. They had similar antigen-uptake ability as the normal monocyte-derived DCs positive control. However, their potency in inducing allogeneic T cell proliferation was also less than that of normal monocyte-derived DCs.

Conclusion

Our findings suggested that GL-PS could induce selected monocytic leukemic cell differentiation into DCs with immuno-stimulatory function. The possible clinical impact of using this commonly used medicinal mushroom in patients with monocytic leukemia (AML-M4 and M5) deserved further investigation.