, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 32-40

In vivo growth-inhibition of Sarcoma 180 by an α-(1 → 4)-glucan–β-(1 → 6)-glucan-protein complex polysaccharide obtained from Agaricus blazei Murill

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Agaricus blazei Murrill, a native mushroom of Brazil, has been widely consumed in different parts of the world due to its anticancer potential. This effect is generally attributed to its polysaccharides; however, the precise structure of these has not been fully characterized. To better understand the relationship between polysaccharide structures and antitumor activity, we investigated the effect of the intraperitoneally (i.p.) or orally (p.o.) administered α-(1 → 4)-glucan–β-(1 → 6)-glucan-protein complex polysaccharide from A. blazei alone or in association with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in tumor growth using Sarcoma 180 transplanted mice. Hematological, biochemical, and histopathological analyses were performed in order to evaluate the toxicological aspects of the polysaccharide treatment. The polysaccharide had no direct cytotoxic action on tumor cells in vitro. However, the polysaccharide showed strong in vivo antitumor effect. Thus, the tumor growth-inhibitory effect of the polysaccharide is apparently due to host-mediated mechanisms. The histopathological analysis suggests that the liver and the kidney were not affected by polysaccharide treatment. Neither enzymatic activity of transaminases (AST and ALT) nor urea levels were significantly altered. In hematological analysis, leucopeny was observed after 5-FU treatment, but this effect was prevented when the treatment was associated with the polysaccharide. In conclusion, this polysaccharide probably could explain the ethnopharmacological use of this mushroom in the treatment of cancer.