Four fractions of a water-insoluble alpha-(1-->3)-D-glucan GL extracted from fruiting bodies of Ganoderma lucidum were dissolved in 0.25 M LiCl/DMSO, and then reacted with sulfur trioxide-pyridine complex at 80 degrees C to synthesize a series of water-soluble sulfated derivatives S-GL. The degree of substitution of DS was measured by using IR infrared spectra, elemental analysis, and 13C NMR to be 1.2-1.6 in the non-selective sulfation. Weight-average molecular weight Mw and intrinsic viscosity [eta] of the sulfated derivatives S-GL were measured by multi-angle laser light scattering and viscometry. The Mw value (2.4 x 10(4)) of sulfated glucan S-GL-1 was much lower than that (44.5 x 10(4)) of original alpha-(1-->3)-D-glucan GL-1. The Mark-Houwink equation and average value of characteristic ratio C(infinity) for the S-GL in 0.2 M NaCl aqueous solution at 25 degrees C were found to be: [eta] = 1.32 x 10(-3) Mw(1.06) (cm3 g(-1)) and 16, respectively, in the Mw range from 1.1 x 10(4) to 2.4 x 10(4). It indicated that the sulfated derivatives of the alpha-(1-->3)-D-glucan in the aqueous solution behave as an expanded chain, owing to intramolecular hydrogen bonding or interaction between charge groups. Interestingly, two sulfated derivatives synthesized from the alpha-(1-->3)-D-glucan and curdlan, a beta-(1-->3)-D-glucan, all had significant higher antitumor activity against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) than the originals. The effect of expanded chains of the sulfated glucan in the aqueous solution on the improvement of the antitumor activity could not be negligible.
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