Immunomodulatory activity of acidic polysaccharides isolated from Tanacetum vulgare L.

Gang Xie, Igor A. Schepetkin, Mark T. Quinn

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86 Citations (Scopus)


Tanacetum vulgare L. (Tansy) has been extensively used in folk medicine for treatment of a variety of medical disorders. In the present study, we isolated and purified four acidic polysaccharide fractions (designated T-I to T-IV) from Tansy florets by the sequential use of hot-water extraction, ethanol precipitation, ultra-filtration, anion-exchange, and size-exclusion chromatography. The average Mr of fractions T-I through T-IV was estimated to be 326, 151, 64 and 9 kDa, respectively, as determined by high performance size-exclusion chromatography analysis. Sugar composition analysis revealed that Tansy polysaccharides consisted primarily of galacturonic acid, galactose, arabinose, and rhamnose. Fractions T-II through T-IV contained an arabinogalactan type II structure, as determined by reaction with Yariv reagent. High Mr fractions T-I and T-II exhibited potent macrophage/monocyte-activating activity, enhancing production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) by J774.A1 murine macrophages, and activating nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) in THP-1 human monocytes. In addition, Tansy polysaccharides stimulated human neutrophil function by greatly enhancing neutrophil myeloperoxidase (MPO) release. Furthermore, the low Mr fraction T-IV had potent complement-fixing activity, which may also contribute to the anti-inflammatory and would-healing properties of Tansy extracts. Taken together, our results provide a molecular basis to explain at least part of the beneficial therapeutic effects of Tansy extracts, and support the concept of using Tansy polysaccharides as an immunotherapeutic adjuvant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1639-1650
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Complement-fixing activity
  • Macrophage
  • Neutrophil
  • Polysaccharide
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Tansy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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