A Mushroom Extract as a Vaccine Booster: Activating and Maturing Immune Cells

Jenn Hoskins
22nd June, 2024

A Mushroom Extract as a Vaccine Booster: Activating and Maturing Immune Cells

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine studied GFPBW1, a new adjuvant from Grifola frondosa, for its immune-boosting effects
  • GFPBW1 activated and matured antigen-presenting cells (APCs), enhancing the immune response in lab tests
  • In mice, GFPBW1 increased specific antibody levels and showed potential as a safe and effective adjuvant for vaccines, including cancer vaccines
The development of effective vaccine adjuvants is crucial for enhancing the body's immune response to various diseases, including cancer. Adjuvants are substances that, when added to vaccines, boost the body’s immune response to the provided antigen. Current adjuvants often lack the ability to significantly improve adaptive immunity by leveraging antigen-presenting cells (APCs), which are vital for initiating and regulating immune responses. A recent study conducted by researchers at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine explores the potential of a new adjuvant, GFPBW1, derived from the fruit bodies of Grifola frondosa, to address this gap[1]. The study focused on GFPBW1, a soluble 300 kDa homogeneous β-glucan, which was previously shown to activate macrophages via the Dectin-1/Syk/NF-κB signaling pathway, leading to antitumor effects. In this recent investigation, the researchers aimed to evaluate the adjuvant effects of GFPBW1 using an ovalbumin (OVA)-antigen and B16-OVA tumor model. In vitro experiments demonstrated that GFPBW1, in varying concentrations (5, 50, 500 μg/mL), dose-dependently promoted the activation and maturation of APCs by increasing the expression of CD80, CD86, and MHC II molecules. These molecules are essential for the effective presentation of antigens to T cells, thus enhancing the immune response. The study further involved immunizing female mice with OVA combined with GFPBW1, administered twice with a two-week interval. The results showed that GFPBW1 significantly increased OVA-specific antibody titers, including IgG1, IgG2a, IgG2b, and IgG3. This indicates that GFPBW1 can serve as an adjuvant for both Th1 and Th2 type immune responses. Interestingly, when GFPBW1 was used in combination with aluminum, a common vaccine adjuvant, it significantly increased the titers of OVA-specific IgG2a and IgG2b but not IgG1. This suggests that GFPBW1 could act as a co-adjuvant to aluminum, compensating for its Th1 deficiency. Importantly, no obvious pathological injuries or abnormalities in hematological parameters were observed in mice immunized with OVA plus GFPBW1, indicating its safety as an adjuvant. The study also explored the effects of GFPBW1 in a B16-OVA cancer vaccine model. GFPBW1 demonstrated complete tumor suppression with preventive vaccines and enhanced antitumor efficacy with therapeutic vaccines. Analysis of differentially expressed genes revealed an enrichment in antigen processing processes and increased tumor infiltration of dendritic cells (DCs), B1 cells, and plasma cells in the OVA plus GFPBW1 group. This aligns with the observed activation and maturation of APCs, highlighting GFPBW1’s potential to improve vaccine efficacy. These findings build on previous research exploring the immune-regulating effects of polysaccharides. For instance, polysaccharides from Phellinus igniarius (PPI) have been shown to activate TLR4 in macrophages and possess immune adjuvant activity[2]. Similarly, polysaccharides from Panax ginseng (GS-P) have demonstrated the ability to enhance both humoral and cellular immune responses against OVA in mice[3]. The current study on GFPBW1 extends these findings by demonstrating its specific action on APCs and its potential to be used as an adjuvant in cancer vaccines. Moreover, the extraction and purification of polysaccharides from Grifola frondosa, as previously studied, have shown promising health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects in ulcerative colitis models[4]. The current research on GFPBW1 further underscores the therapeutic potential of Grifola frondosa-derived polysaccharides in enhancing immune responses and providing antitumor benefits. In conclusion, the study by Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine systematically describes the properties of GFPBW1 as a novel, potent, and safe adjuvant. By promoting the activation and maturation of APCs, GFPBW1 enhances both humoral and cellular immune responses, making it a promising candidate for vaccine development, particularly in cancer immunotherapy.



Main Study

1) GFPBW1, a β-glucan from Grifola frondosa as vaccine adjuvant: APCs activation and maturation.

Published 21st June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Polysaccharide from Phellinus Igniarius activates TLR4-mediated signaling pathways in macrophages and shows immune adjuvant activity in mice.


3) Immunoadjuvant activity in mice of polysaccharides isolated from the leaves of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer.


4) Structural properties and anti-inflammatory activity of purified polysaccharides from Hen-of-the-woods mushrooms (Grifola frondosa).


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