1994 Volume 17 Issue 7 Pages 948-954
OL-2, a highly branched (1→3)-β-D-glucan, is an antitumor glucan showing strong hematopoietic activity with weaker adjuvant activity than schizophyllan (SPG), another antitumor glucan and one which is used clinically. This paper deals with the gene expression of cytokines in mice by OL-2 and SPG in order to characterize their immunopharmacological activity. Gene expression was examined by a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction method after intraperitoneal administration of OL-2 or SPG (250μg/mouse). The OL-2 administered mice strongly expressed the interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) gene but SPG administered mice did not. The difference would be strongly related to the antigen-specific response between OL-2 and SPG. In the genes related to haematopoiesis, OL-2 induced G-CSF and GM-CSF, but SPG induced IL-3. These differences would relate to the pattern of haematopoietic response. Comparing the cytokine gene expression in ICR and AKR mice by OL-2 administration, the changes in cytokine gene expression were less in AKR mice administered OL-2. These findings suggest that the immunopharmacological characteristics of OL-2 are closely related, at least in part, to the activation of the complement system. The data shown in this paper also suggest that cytokine gene expression by β-glucan would be significantly affected by the structure of these glucans.