Endopleura uchi is a native Brazilian tree whose bark is commonly used in decoctions for the treatment of several diseases, primarily those affecting women, such as uterine infections and myomas. For polysaccharides extracted from plants, numerous biological activities, especially immunomodulatory function, have been demonstrated. In the present study, the E. uchi bark decoction (UX), a crude polysaccharide fraction (AGb) and a type II arabinogalactan (AG) isolated from the decoction were tested on mouse peritoneal macrophages to evaluate their immunomodulatory action. All fractions altered the morphology of macrophages to an activated profile, inducing an increase in cytoplasmic projections and cellular vacuoles. E. uchi extracts also promoted the induction of the respiratory burst by macrophages, significantly increasing the levels of superoxide anion released. Both, inflammatory (TNF-α and IL-1β) and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10) were enhanced by the incubation of macrophages with the extracts isolated from E. uchi barks. These data suggest an immunomodulatory action for E. uchi extracts, which could be at least partly responsible for the biological effects attributed to E. uchi decoction, including its antitumor activity, through activation of the immune system.
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