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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 358717, 13 pages
Original Article

Ganoderma lucidum Polysaccharides Induce Macrophage-Like Differentiation in Human Leukemia THP-1 Cells via Caspase and p53 Activation

1Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Department of Life Science, Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics, Center for Systems Biology and Bioinformatics, Institute of Biochemical Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
2Institute of Biomedical Informatics and Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan
3Institute of Biological Chemistry and the Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
4Department of Chemistry and The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA

Received 22 February 2009; Accepted 26 June 2009

Copyright © 2011 Jia-Wei Hsu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Differentiation therapy by induction of tumor cells is an important method in the treatment of hematological cancers such as leukemia. Tumor cell differentiation ends cancer cells' immortality, thus stopping cell growth and proliferation. In our previous study, we found that fucose-containing polysaccharide fraction F3 extracted from Ganoderma lucidum can bring about cytokine secretion and cell death in human leukemia THP-1 cells. This prompted us to further investigate on how F3 induces the differentiation in human leukemia cells. We integrated time-course microarray analysis and network modeling to study the F3-induced effects on THP-1 cells. In addition, we determined the differentiation effect using Liu's staining, nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction assay, flow cytometer, western blotting and Q-PCR. We also examined the modulation and regulation by F3 during the differentiation process. Dynamic gene expression profiles showed that cell differentiation was induced in F3-treated THP-1 cells. Furthermore, F3-treated THP-1 cells exhibited enhanced macrophage differentiation, as demonstrated by changes in cell adherence, cell cycle arrest, NBT reduction and expression of differentiation markers including CD11b, CD14, CD68, matrix metalloproteinase-9 and myeloperoxidase. In addition, caspase cleavage and p53 activation were found to be significantly enhanced in F3-treated THP-1 cells. We unraveled the role of caspases and p53 in F3-induced THP-1 cells differentiation into macrophages. Our results provide a molecular explanation for the differentiation effect of F3 on human leukemia THP-1 cells and offer a prospect for a potential leukemia differentiation therapy.