Protein-bound polysaccharide-K (PSK) prepared from the basidiomycete Coriolus versicolor has been used as a biological response modifier for the treatment of cancer patients. Many studies describing the immunomodulatory effects and direct anti-cancer effects of PSK have been reported. Most of studies describing the immunomodulatory effects focused on cellular immunity, although there were several studies which focused on humoral immunity where PSK was shown to be able to induce antibody production in vivo. However, even in these humoral immunity studies, it is thought that the enhancement of antibody production was due to the activation of cellular immunity. In this study, we investigated the direct effect of PSK on B cells and discovered that PSK was able to enhance IgM production in the human B cell line BALL-1. Furthermore, BALL-1 was shown to have the characteristic features of B-1a cells, which are independently involved in the primary immune response. These results show that there is a possibility that PSK directly acts on B cells and simultaneously enhances both humoral immunity and cellular immunity.
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