Category Archives: in vitro

Anticancerous Effect of PSP Purified Products and KS-2 on Human Tumor Cell Lines in Vitro

Liang-zhong Xu, Jun Han and Gang Chen Laboratory of Pathology, Cancer Institute, Shanghai Medical University


The anticancer effects of PSP purified products, PSP-A, PSP-B, PSP-C and crude product PSP-Cr and KS-2 were compared on four human tumor cell lines in vitro. It was found that the inhibition rate of cell proliferation of PSP-A was higher than that of PSP-Cr, PSP-B and PSP-C (P<0.05). On SPC cells, the inhibition rate of PSP-A at a dosage of 1000ug/ml was 62.7%, being the highest as compared with those on the other three cell lines.

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Antitumor Effect of Polysaccharide Peptide of Coriolus versicolor (PSP) and its Mechanism

Jin-Xu Zhou, Xin-li Shen, Zu-ming Shen, Xiao-yu Li Department of Pharmacology I Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031


Polysaccharide peptide of Coriolus versicolor (PSP) is a new anti-tumor and immunomodulating drug. In this paper PSP showed direct inhibition on the cell proliferation of sarcoma 180 in vitro and inhibitory effect on the growth of murine sarcoma 180 in vivo. Owing to its direct cytotoxic effect was not strong, but at lower concentrations (10-20ug/ml) of PSP promoted the proliferation of T and pre-T cells of mouse thymus, increased the thymus weight, provided more number of lymphocytes, prevented the involuation of thymus in tumor bearing mice and antagonized the anti-tumor action of PSP combined with antilymphocyte serum. It is suggested the principal mechanism of anti-tumor activity of PSP was T-cell mediated cytotoxicity.

It has been known that some polysaccharides and polysaccharide peptide isolated from various natural sources, especially isolated from Basiodiomycetes have certain anti-tumor activities. The polysaccharide contained a main chain of an alpha and beta (1-4) glucan and a tightly bound 15-38% polypeptides (PSP) isolated from Coriolus versicolor (Fr) Quel. (Cov-1) by Professor Qing-yao Yang also exhibited antitumor action against mouse sarcoma 180 in vitro and in vivo. Recent experiments suggest three possible mechanism by which these PSP might act: (1) Potentiating of T-cell mediated cytotoxicity which killed more number of target-tumor cells. (2) Definite concentration of PSP produced direct cytotoxic activity in vitro. (3) Induction of tumorcidal macrophages killed more cancer cells. In this paper the antitumor action of PSP and its possible mechanism are reported

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Differential effect of Coriolus versicolor (Yunzhi) extract on cytokine production by murine lymphocytes in vitro.

CY Ho, CB Lau, CF Kim, KN Leung, KP Fung, TF Tse, HH Chan, MS Chow.

School of Pharmacy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, China.

Being one of the commonly used Chinese medicinal herbs, Coriolus versicolor (CV), also named as Yunzhi, was known to possess both anti-tumor and immunopotentiating activities. The present study aimed to investigate the in vitro immunomodulatory effect of a standardized ethanol-water extract prepared from CV on the proliferation of murine splenic lymphocytes using the MTT assay, and the production of six T helper (Th)-related cytokines using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. The results showed that the CV extract significantly augmented the proliferation of murine splenic lymphocytes in a time- and dose-dependent manner, maximally by 2.4-fold. Moreover, the production of two Th1-related cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-12, in culture supernatants from the CV extract-activated lymphocytes was prominently upregulated at 48 and 72 h. Positive correlations were found between the levels of these two cytokines and the MTT-based proliferative response. In contrast, the production of two other Th1-related cytokines, including interferon (IFN)-gamma and IL-18, was significantly augmented only at 24 h, but not at 48 and 72 h. On the other hand, the levels of two Th2-related cytokines such as IL-4 and IL-6 were undetectable in the culture supernatants of lymphocytes treated with the CV extract. The CV extract was suggested to be a lymphocyte mitogen by differentially enhancing the production of Th1-related cytokines.

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Molecular characterization of Coriolus versicolor PSP-induced apoptosis in human promyelotic leukemic HL-60 cells using cDNA microarray.

F Zeng, CC Hon, WH Sit, KY Chow, RK Hui, IK Law, VW Ng, XT Yang, FC Leung, JM Wan.

Department of Zoology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, P.R. China.

Proteins and peptide bound polysaccharides (PSP) extracted from Basidiomycetous fungi are widely used in cancer immunotherapy and recently demonstrated to induce apoptosis in cancer cells in vitro. In order to provide the molecular pharmacological mechanisms of PSP on human cancer cells, we investigated the gene expression profiles of PSP-treated apoptotic human promyelotic leukemic HL-60 cells using ResGen 40k IMAGE printed cDNA microarray. In total 378 and 111 transcripts were identified as differentially expressed in the apoptotic cells by at least a factor of 2 or 3, respectively. Our data show that PSP-induced apoptosis in HL-60 cells might be mediated by up-regulation of early transcription factors such as AP-1, EGR1, IER2 and IER5, and down-regulation of NF-kappaB transcription pathways. Other gene expression changes, including the increase of several apoptotic or anti-proliferation genes, such as GADD45A/B and TUSC2, and the decrease of a batch of phosphatase and kinase genes, may also provide further evidences in supporting the process of PSP induced apoptosis in cancer cells. Some of the well-characterized carcinogenesis-related gene transcripts such as SAT, DCT, Melan-A, uPA and cyclin E1 were also alternated by PSP in the HL-60 cells. These transcripts can be employed as markers for quality control of PSP products on functional levels. The present study provides new insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in PSP-induced apoptosis in leukemic HL-60 cells analyzed by cDNA microarray.

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Differential anti-tumor activity of coriolus versicolor (Yunzhi) extract through p53- and/or Bcl-2-dependent apoptotic pathway in human breast cancer cells.

CY Ho, CF Kim, KN Leung, KP Fung, TF Tse, H Chan, CB Lau.

School of Pharmacy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.

Coriolus versicolor (CV), also called Yunzhi, has been demonstrated to exert anti-tumor effects on various types of cancer cells, but the underlying mechanism has not been fully elucidated. The present study aimed to evaluate the in vitro anti-tumor activity of a standardized aqueous ethanol extract prepared from CV on four breast cancer cell lines using MTT assay, and test whether the mechanism involves apoptosis induction and modulation of p53 and Bcl-2 protein expressions using cell death detection ELISA, p53 and Bcl-2 ELISAs respectively. Our results demonstrated that the CV extract dose-dependently suppressed the proliferation of three breast tumor cell lines, with ascending order of IC50 values: T-47D, MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, while BT-20 cells were not significantly affected. Tumoricidal activity of the CV extract was found to be comparable to a chemotherapeutic anti-cancer drug, mitomycin C. Nucleosome productions in apoptotic MDA-MB-231, MCF-7 and T-47D cells were significantly augmented in a time-dependent manner and paralleled the anti-proliferative activity of CV extract. Expression of p53 protein was significantly upregulated only in T-47D cells treated with the CV extract in a dose- and time-dependent fashion, but not in MCF-7 (except at 400 mug/ml after 16 h) and MDA-MB-231 cells. The CV extract significantly induced a dose-dependent downregulation of Bcl-2 protein expression in MCF-7 and T-47D cells, but not in MDA-MB-231 cells. These results suggested that apoptosis induction, differentially dependent of p53 and Bcl-2 expressions, might be the possible mechanism of CV extract-mediated cytotoxicity in human breast cancer cells in vitro.

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Comparsion of Anti-cancer Effect between two kinds of Polysaccharide Peptide of Coriolus versicolor on Human Tumor Cell Lines in Vitro

L.Z. Xu Laboratory of Pathology Cancer Institute, Shanghai Medical University


In the present study the anti-cancer effect of polysaccharide peptide of Coriolus versicolor Cov-1 (PSP) was compared with polysaccharide peptide of Coriolus versicolor CM-101 (PSK) on four human tumor cell line targets (SGC 7901, stomach cancer cell; SPC, human lung adenocarcinoma cell; SLY, human monocytic leukemia cell and Mei, human skin histiocytic lymphoma cell) in Vitro.

PSP had similar cytotoxic effects upon human tumor cells as PSK, both inhibiting cell growth. In comparison with control specimens, the SPC cell line treated with PSP (1000ug/ml) for 72 hours at 37oC showed marked morphological changes such as cell swelling, chromatin aggregation, formation of polynuclear cells and sawtooth on the surface of cell nuclei.

PSK as a new immunomodulative drug had been widely used for clinical anticancer therapy in Japan. When combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical operation, PSK is found to be able to improve the therapeutic effects. In 1983, a polysaccharide peptide of Coriolus versicolor Cov-1 was isolated from the mycelia by Qing-yao Yang. It is possessed of physio-chemical characteristics similar to PSK and designated as PSP. In the present study the anti-cancer effect of PSP was compared with PSK using four human tumor cell line targets in vitro.

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Clinical Experience in the Use of PSP

W.C. Xue and T.F. Liu
Cancer Hospital, Shanghai Medical University


There is no really effective treatment for moderate and advanced stages of esophageal
carcinoma. Although surgery for the earlier cases has been able to give a 5 years survival
rate of 28.7%, such operable cases are relatively few. By far the greater majority are
already in stage III to IV when first seen in the clinic, and radiotherapy alone in these cases
has given a 5 years survival rate of only 8-14%. In order to improve treatment results, a
variety of chemotherapeutic agents have been used in combination surgery, but so far no
really effective drug has been found.

The drug PSP (polysaccharide-peptide of Coriolus versicolor) has been discovered and
produced by Professor Qing-yao Yang of. It is a new anti-cancer and immuno-regulatory
drug, similar to PSK (Krestin) but the effective component has been found to be larger
than PSK. Experimental data has proved these properties of PSP, and in vitro as well as
in vivo studies have all proved that PSP is superior to PSK. Of course, as is the case with
all new drugs, the ultimate proof of its value will have to be shown by clinical application.

Data on Krestin suggest that this family of drugs when used in combination with
radiotherapy, there might be an increase of the biological effects of radiation. To do a
pilot study on such a possibility, the authors have treated 41 moderate to advanced cases of
esophageal carcinoma with a combination of PSP and radiotherapy.

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Blastoid transformation of human lymphocytes cultured with protein-bound polysaccharide preparation, PS-K, in vitro.

Ohno R, Yokomaku S, Wakayama K, Sugiura S, Yamada K.


The protein-bound polysaccharide preparation, PS-K, isolated from a mushroom, Coriolus versicolor, was found to stimulate human lymphocytes and induce them into blastogenesis in vitro. This stimulatory effect seemed to be nonspecific since lymphocytes from cord blood of newborn babies were also stimulated by PS-K. The highest lymphocyte blastogenesis by PS-K was observed after 5 days in culture.

PMID: 1017585 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

The effect of a protein-bound polysaccharide from Coriolus versicolor on immunological parameters and experimental infections in mice.

Mayer P, Drews J.


The influence of PSK, a protein bound polysaccharide from Coriolus versicolor on various immunological parameters was studied, PSK was found to enhance B cell activity as measured by the spleen plaque-forming cell assay in mice, and to stimulate mouse macrophages as determined by an enhancement of carbon clearance and an increase in the phagocytosis of opsonized sheep red blood cells by peritoneal mouse macrophages in vitro. The activation of mouse macrophages by PSK appeared to correlate with the therapeutic effects of the compound. In mice made granulocytopenic with cyclophosphamide and subsequently infected with a variety of garm-negative pathogens or with Candida albicans, PSK prolonged the average survival time of the animals. The compound also led to a drastic increase in the number of animals surviving such experimental infections as compared to untreated controls. Possible mechanisms responsible for these protective effects by PSK are discussed.

PMID: 6966256 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

[Restoration of depressed immune responses by PSK in C3H/He mice bearing the syngeneic X5563 tumor]

[Article in Japanese]

Matsunaga K, Morita I, Oguchi Y, Fujii T, Yoshikumi C, Nomoto K.


PSK is a protein-bound polysaccharide prepared from cultured mycelium of Coriolus versicolor. The effects of PSK on immunologic responsiveness were investigated in C3H/He mice bearing syngeneic X5563 tumor. The results were as follows. elayed foot pad reaction and antibody-forming capacity to sheep erythrocytes were depressed in tumor bearing mice, and such depression was prevented by oral or intraperitoneal administration of PSK. In vitro cytotoxic activity of splenic lymphocytes against the tumor was augmented by PSK administration. Antitumor effect was augmented by combination of PSK and X-irradiation. Delayed foot pad reaction to sheep erythrocytes was suppressed in normal C3H/He mice given immunosuppressive substance obtained from tumor-bearing mice, and the depressed reaction recovered to the normal level following PSK administration. These results show that PSK is effective in the syngeneic murine tumor system.

PMID: 3789756 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]