Application of purified polysaccharides from cell cultures of the plant Echinacea Purpurea to mice mediates protection against systematic infections with Listeria Monocytogenes and Candida Albicans
Purified polysaccharides from cellcultures of the plant Echinacea purpurea were investigated for their ability to enhance phagocytes' activities regarding nonspecific immunity in vitro and in vivo. Macrophages (M phi) from different organ origin could be activated to produce IL-1, TNFalpha and IL-6, to produce elevated amounts of reactive oxygen intermediates and to inhibit growth of Candida albicans in vitro. Furthermore. in vivo the substances could induce increased proliferation of phagocytes in spleen and bone marrow and migration of granulocytes to the peripheral blood. These effects indeed resulted in excellent protection of mice against the consequences of lethal infections with one predominantly M phi dependent and one predominantly granulocyte dependent pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes and C. albicans, respectively. Specific immune responses to sheep red blood cells (antibody production) and to listeria (DTH) were not affected by the polysaccharides. The possibility of clinica l use is discussed.