2017 Volume 11 Issue 5 Pages 230-237
Vegetables are eaten as part of a healthy diet throughout the world, and some are also applied topically as a traditional medicine. We evaluated the innate immunostimulating activities of hot water extracts of various vegetables using the silkworm muscle contraction assay system, and found that broccoli, Brassica oleracea var. italica, contains a strong innate immunostimulant. We purified the innate immunostimulant from broccoli, and characterized the chemical structure by chemical analyses and NMR spectroscopy. The innate immunostimulant comprised galacturonic acid, galactose, glucose, arabinose, and rhamnose, and had a pectic-like polysaccharide structure. To determine the structural motif involved in the innate immunostimulating activity, we modified the structure by chemical and enzymatic treatment, and found that the activity was attenuated by pectinase digestion. These findings suggest that a pectic-like polysaccharide purified from broccoli has innate immune-stimulating activity, for which the polygalacturonic acid structure is necessary.