Polysaccharide (DOPA) from the stem of D. officinale, as well as two fractions (DOPA-1 and DOPA-2) of it, were isolated and purified by DEAE cellulose-52 and Sephacryl S-300 chromatography, and their structural characteristics and bioactivities were investigated. The average molecular weights of DOPA-1 and DOPA-2 were 394 kDa and 362 kDa, respectively. They were mainly composed of d-mannose, d-glucose, and had a backbone consisting of 1,4-linked β-d-Manp and 1,4-linked β-d-Glcp with O-acetyl groups. Bioactivity studies indicated that both DOPA and its purified fractions (DOPA-1 and DOPA-2) could activate splenocytes and macrophages. The D. officinale polysaccharides had stimulatory effects on splenocytes, T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes, promoting the cell viability and NO production of RAW 264.7 macrophages. Furthermore, DOPA, DOPA-1 and DOPA-2 were found to protect RAW 264.7 macrophages against hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂)-induced oxidative injury by promoting cell viability, suppressing apoptosis and ameliorating oxidative lesions. These results suggested that D. officinale polysaccharides possessed antioxidant activity and mild immunostimulatory activity.
Keywords: Dendrobium officinale; antioxidant activity; immunostimulatory activity; polysaccharide; structural characterization.