Summary Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by airway inflammation caused by the dysregulated production of cytokines secreted by allergen-specific type 2 T helper (Th2) cells. Antrodia camphorata is a commonly used fungus in Asian folk medicine, and A. camphorata polysaccharides are reported to possess anti-cancer activities. In this study, the immunomodulatory effects of purified fractionated polysaccharides (GF2) from A. camphorata on dendritic cells (DCs) and their potential preventive effects against ovalbumin (OVA) -induced asthma were investigated. In the presence of GF2, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) -activated DCs exhibited up-regulated expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II and co-stimulatory molecules, as well as enhanced interleukin-10 (IL-10) and IL-12 production. GF2 treatment on LPS-activated DCs suppressed naïve CD4+ T-cell proliferation and Th2 cell polarization with IL-10 production in an allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction. In animal experiments, a high dose of GF2 efficiently reduced expression levels of OVA-specific immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgE. However, lower doses of GF2 significantly enhanced OVA-specific IgG2a production. Our data also showed that administration of GF2 dose-dependently inhibited the development of airway hyperresponsiveness, airway eosinophilia and Th2 responses. OVA-specific CD4+ T cells from higher doses of GF2-treated mice had significantly lower proliferative capacities compared with control mice. Moreover, treatment with GF2 significantly increased the high levels of IL-10 and low levels of interferon-γ produced by T cells. Taken together, these data indicate that administration of A. camphorata polysaccharides (GF2) may have therapeutic potential when used as an adjuvant for the immunomodulatory treatment of allergic asthma.
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