Polysaccharopeptide (PSP), from Coriolus versicolor, has been used as an adjuvant to chemotherapy, and has demonstrated anti-tumor and immunomodulating effects. However its mechanism remains unknown. To elucidate how PSP affects immune populations, we compared PSP treatments both with and without prior incubation in phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) - a process commonly used in immune population experimentation. We first standardised a capillary electrophoresis fingerprinting technique for PSP identification and characterisation. We then established the proliferative capability of PSP on various immune populations in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, using flow cytometry, without prior PHA treatment. It was found that PSP significantly increased the number of monocytes (CD14(+)/CD16(-)) compared to controls without PHA. This increase in monocytes was confirmed using another antibody panel of CD14 and MHCII. In contrast, proliferations of T-cells, NK, and B-cells were not significantly changed by PSP. Thus, stimulating monocyte/macrophage function with PSP could be an effective therapeutic intervention in targeting tumors.
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