The activity of seaweed extracts on murine and human lymphocytes was studied in vitro. The extracts of some kinds of seaweed, such as Hizikia fusiformis and Meristotheca papulosa, stimulated normal mouse spleen cells to proliferate. The responder cells are B cells, because the response was depleted by the treatment of spleen cells with anti-immunoglobulin (Ig) antibody and complement and being passed through a nylon wool column. This response is not due to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) contamination, because seaweed extracts can stimulate spleen cells of C3H/HeJ mice which are LPS low responders. Seaweed extracts also enhanced Ig production by B cells and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production by macrophages. Furthermore, seaweed extracts stimulated human lymphocytes to proliferate. All these B cell stimulating activities of seaweed extracts associated with glycoproteins whose molecular weights resided in 100 kD. These results suggest that seaweed extracts have stimulating activity on B cells and macrophages and this ability could be used clinically for the modulation of immune responses.
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