Characterization of two novel polysaccharides having immunological activities from the root of Panax ginseng

Biol Pharm Bull. 1993 Nov;16(11):1087-90. doi: 10.1248/bpb.16.1087.


Two acidic polysaccharides, called ginsenan S-IA and ginsenan S-IIA, were isolated from the root of Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer. They were homogeneous on electrophoresis and gel chromatography, and their molecular masses were estimated to be 5.6 x 10(4) and 1.0 x 10(5), respectively. Ginsenan S-IA is composed of L-arabinose: D-galactose: D-galacturonic acid in the molar ratio of 8:8:1, and ginsenan S-IIA is composed of L-arabinose: D-galactose: D-glucose: D-galacturonic acid in the molar ratio of 15:10:2:5, in addition to small amounts of O-acetyl groups. About a half (ginsenan S-IA) and about a quarter (ginsenan S-IIA) of the hexuronic acid residues exist as methyl esters. Reduction of carboxyl groups, methylation analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance and periodate oxidation studies indicated that their structural features include mainly alpha-1,5-linked L-arabino-beta-3,6-branched D-galactan type structural units. Both polysaccharides showed remarkable reticuloendothelial system-potentiating activity in a carbon clearance test and pronounced anti-complementary activity. These substances are the first examples having a relatively high content of both alpha-3,5-branched L-arabinose and beta-1,4-linked D-galactose units among the acidic arabinogalactans with activities on phagocytosis and anti-complement.

MeSH terms

  • Arabinose / analysis
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / isolation & purification*
  • Electrophoresis, Paper
  • Galactose / analysis
  • Glucose / analysis
  • Hexuronic Acids / analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Methylation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / immunology
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification*
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Polysaccharides
  • galacturonic acid
  • Arabinose
  • Glucose
  • Galactose