Characterization and in vitro immunomodulatory screening of fructo-oligosaccharides of Asparagus racemosus Willd. Academic Article uri icon


  • Asparagus racemosus Linn. (Fam. Liliaceae) is an ethno-pharmacologically acclaimed Ayurvedic medicinal plant. In the present study, aqueous extract of A. racemosus (ARC) was fractionated and screened for the polysaccharide fraction (ARP). The characterization was done by enzymatic, Size Exclusion, gas chromatography with flame ionization detector (GC-FID), high pressure anion exchange chromatography (HPAEC) and thin layer chromatographic analyses. Phyto-chemical evaluation confirmed the presence of 26.7% of 2→1 linked fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). They have a degree of polymerization (DP) of nearly 7-8. Cytotoxicity evaluation on P388 cell lines was consistent with low cytotoxicity of the extracts. In vitro Natural Killer (NK) cell activity was evaluated using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) isolated from whole blood on a ficoll-hypaque density gradient. K562 a myeloid leukemia cell line, were used as target cells. ARC, tested over the range 0.2-50 μg/ml, showed a dose-related stimulation of NK cell activity with a peak increase of 16.9±4.4% at 5.6 μg/ml. However, ARP demonstrated a higher stimulatory activity of 51.8±1.2% at 25 μg/ml. The results indicate that the FOS from A. racemosus potentiates the NK cell activity and this could be an important mechanism underpinning the 'Rasayana' properties of this plant.


  • Thakur, Mayank
  • Connellan, Paul
  • Deseo, Myrna A
  • Morris, Carol
  • Praznik, Werner
  • Loeppert, Renate
  • Dixit, VK

publication date

  • January 2012

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