SUMMARY: PSK, a protein-bound polysaccharide isolated from the basidiomycete (Fr.) Quél, was examined with regard to its effects of macrophage (Mø) oxygen metabolism in mice, a function important for the expression of Mø antimicrobial activity. The O-producing ability and chemiluminescence (CL) of host peritoneal Møs in response to phorbol myristate acetate were markedly elevated by preinjection of PSK (1 or 5 mg per mouse intraperitoneally) around 4-7 d before Mø harvest. The enhanced O-producing ability due to PSK injection persisted much longer than the enhanced CL, indicating a discrepancy in regulation of generation of active oxygen species such as O, HO, OH, and O. Daily injections of PSK (1 mg per injection) from 10 to 4 d before Mø harvest did not increase the efficacy of PSK over that given by a single 1 mg injection. When PSK (5 mg) was given intraperitoneally to mice in a single injection 10, 7 or 4 d before intravenous inoculation, a similar increase in the host resistance to the bacteria was noted regardless of the timing of the injection. Multiple PSK injections from 10 to 4 d before the infection also enhanced the host resistance, to the same degree. Therefore, PSK is thought to augment the host resistance to certain intracellular parasites including at least to some extent by enhancing oxygen metabolism of the host Møs.


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