Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) is a substance produced by an edible mushroom, Coriolus versicolor which has been claimed to possess antitumor activity. However, neither tumoricidal activity nor cytotoxicity was observed when five tumor cell lines and mouse peritoneal macrophages were cultured in vitro in the presence of 2.5-10 ?g/ml PSP. An increase in the production of reactive nitrogen intermediates, reactive oxygen intermediates (superoxide anions) and tumor necrosis factor was measured in peritoneal macrophages collected from inbred C57 mice which had received PSP in the drinking water for 2 weeks. Northern blot analysis also demonstrated that PSP activated the transcription of tumor necrosis factor gene in these cells, indicating that PSP exerted an immunomodulatory effect on the defensive cells.
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