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Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(4), 197;

Ascophyllan Induces Activation of Natural Killer Cells in Mice In Vivo and In Vitro

Scientific Research Center, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center & Institutes of Biomedical Sciences, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 201508, China
Research and Development Division, Hayashikane Sangyo Co., Ltd., Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi 750-8608, Japan
Graduate School of Fisheries Science and Environmental Studies, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan
Department of Medical Biotechnology, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan 38541, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 28 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Immunomodulators)
PDF [1298 KB, uploaded 28 March 2019]


Natural marine polysaccharides have demonstrated immune stimulatory effects in both mice and humans. Our previous study compared the ability of ascophyllan and fucoidan to activate human and mouse dendritic cells (DCs). In this study, we further examined the effect of ascophyllan on the activation of mouse natural killer (NK) cells in vivo and in vitro and compared it to that of fucoidan, a well-studied natural marine polysaccharide. Specifically, administration of ascophyllan to C57BL/6 mice increased the number of NK cells in the spleen when compared to the number in PBS-treated mice. Moreover, the number of IFN-γ-producing NK cells and expression of CD69 were markedly upregulated by ascophyllan treatment. Ascophyllan treatment also induced IFN-γ production and CD69 upregulation in isolated NK cells, but did not promote cell proliferation. Finally, ascophyllan treatment increased the cytotoxicity of NK cells against Yac-1 cells. The effects of ascophyllan on NK cell activation were considerably stronger than those of fucoidan. These data demonstrated that ascophyllan promotes NK cell activation both in mice and in vitro, and its stimulatory effect on NK cells is stronger than that of fucoidan. View Full-Text
Keywords: ascophyllan; fucoidan; natural killer cells; IFN-γ; cytotoxicity ascophyllan; fucoidan; natural killer cells; IFN-γ; cytotoxicity

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Zhang, W.; Okimura, T.; Oda, T.; Jin, J.-O. Ascophyllan Induces Activation of Natural Killer Cells in Mice In Vivo and In Vitro. Mar. Drugs 2019, 17, 197.

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