In this study, we report that a polysaccharide isolated from a Chinese medicinal herb, Zhu Ling (the sclerotium of Polyporus umbellatus (Per) Fr), induces phenotypic and functional maturation of murine bone-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs). Treatment of BMDCs with Polyporus polysaccharide (PPS) resulted in enhanced cell-surface expression of CD86, as well as enhanced production of both interleukin (IL)-12 p40 and IL-10 in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, treatment of BMDCs with PPS resulted in increased T cell-stimulatory capacity and decreased phagocytic ability. PPS-induced production of IL-12 p40 was inhibited by monoclonal antibodies to Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Flow cytometric analysis showed that fluorescence-labeled PPS (f-PPS) bound specifically to BMDCs. This binding was blocked by both unlabeled PPS and anti-TLR4, but not by anti-TLR2 and anti-CR3 monoclonal antibodies. Taken together, our data show that PPS promotes the activation and maturation of murine BMDCs via TLR4.
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